Inside Out, a non profit organization is specifically designed to provide help and support for individuals and family members adversely affected by having a loved one that is incarcerated.
In the state of Maryland, approximately 82,000 children have a parent that is incarcerated. This leaves them to grow up in an unstable environment plagued with academic struggles, poverty, and psychological problems that can last a lifetime. Children of incarcerated parents have parental bonding disrupted during a developmentally critical stage of their lives. This disruption is sometimes irreparable. The long absence of a parent has been shown to cause stress that researchers have compared to the trauma of domestic abuse or divorce. The end result can be a parent and child left emotionally estranged from one another because the familial bonds aren’t able to take root early in the child’s life.
Baltimore is home to one third of the state’s prison population and in desperate need of help ensuring that the children of these prisoners get the emotional support they need. These children need help nurturing the bond with the incarcerated parent. Additionally, they need emotional support and professional help in healing their fractured family so that they don’t end being punished for the crimes of their parent(s). They also need help preparing for the inmate’s transition back in to the family far in advance of their release date.
Inside Out is a program developed to provide the guidance and support the families of incarcerated individuals need. Inside Out will provide individual counseling, family counseling, and guided support groups to those fractured families. These therapeutic services are intended to support them in coping with the absence of their family member, assist them with nurturing and maintaining a bond with that family member, and help them feel less isolated by encouraging relationships with similarly situated individuals who can understand what they are experiencing. In addition to providing therapeutic services, the program will empower families by making referrals to other community based programs that can help with needed services such as educational programs, job training and placement, mentoring, and housing assistance to name a few. The goal of the program is to ensure that by sentencing a parent to prison, they aren’t also sentencing their children to a life of hardship.