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Easing the return of incarcerated parents to their children's lives

MH AP parents family prison visit
Rich Pedroncelli/AP
In this photo taken May 3, 2014, Correctional Officer Charmaign Hanson directs family members of inmates to the recreation yard of the Folsom Women's Facility in Folsom Calif. More than 40 children visited their loved ones at the prison through a nonprofit program called Get on the Bus that arranges for children of inmates to visit their parents in California prisons around Mother's and Father's days. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Twenty thousand Baltimore children have a parent behind bars or on parole or probation. A new program called B’More Reconnects aims to solidify the bonds between a parent and child and reduce trauma.

Kate Sweeney co-directs the Parent, Infant, Early Childhood Program at the Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She describes B’More Reconnects’ group parenting classes, which will start pre-release and continue for six months after.

Then Deputy Mayor Faith Leach shares her connection to this initiative. After her mother was released from prison, they rebuilt their relationship, and Leach saw her mother return to college, "My mom’s story is the illustration of why we can’t ever - and let me repeat that - we can’t ever give up on our neighbors that are returning home."

And Kimberly Haven, executive director of Reproductive Justice Inside, talks about her experience as a mother in prison.

Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Maureen Harvie is senior producer for On the Record. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and joined WYPR in 2014 as an intern for the newsroom. Whether coordinating live election night coverage, capturing the sounds of a roller derby scrimmage, interviewing veterans, or booking local authors, she is always on the lookout for the next story.