“Love Letters” is a national campaign, supported by Google, to uplift the voices of young people who have an incarcerated parent. On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we are asking many of the 2.7 million children in the United States who have at least one parent incarcerated to share letters they have written to their mother and father. During this time, let’s remember our parents behind bars and the devastating human cost of mass incarceration. Please join us in supporting organizations that keep parents connected to their children.”
This past Mother’s Day, we shared #LoveLetters, a partnership among nonprofits to give the children of incarcerated parents a chance to have their voices heard. Today, in celebration of Father’s Day, you can watch Love Letters for incarcerated fathers. This work is part our continued commitment to raising awareness about racial justice, and to bearing witness to the human costs of mass incarceration.
The costs of mass incarceration have disproportionately affected the lives of Black men. From 1980 to 2007, about one in three of the 25.4 million adults arrested for drugs was African-American. And if that current trend continues, one in three Black boys born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime. All in all, we’re now at a point where there are more African-American men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations of India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined.
Many of these men are also fathers—and their children have suffered greatly. The loss of a father to incarceration adversely affects children’s educational, social and emotional well-being, even decades later. Children with an incarcerated parent are three times more likely to have behavioral problems or depression, and at least twice as likely to suffer from learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and anxiety.
This is what Love Letters conveys: the hurt of the children left behind—and the need for a child to connect with their parent on the other side of the prison walls. So for Father’s Day, we worked with the NGOs Pops the Club and Place4Grace to encourage children and youth in California to share their love letters to their fathers behind bars. We’re also working with the California Department of Corrections to share the video with fathers behind bars throughout the state.
I hope that you’ll watch the video and see firsthand the impact of mass incarceration on children and families. As David Drummond, our Vice President of Corporate Development, Alphabet, powerfully remarked during a criminal justice forum we held at Google New York this week, “At Google, we like disruption and if there is a system worth disrupting, it’s the criminal justice system.”
If you want to learn about criminal justice reform legislation that is now going through Congress, visit sentencingproject.org, vera.org, or brennancenter.org. And join the conversation with #LoveLetters on social media.
Posted by Malika Saada Saar, Public Policy and Government Relations Senior Counsel – Civil and Human Rights.