Monthly Archives: January 2012

Shared By Anon

We are only warehousing prisoners. There is no real effort on rehabilitation. One in every 100 in America in jail. We need to focus on prevention of problems instead of paying $60,000 a year to incarcerate. My sister is in prison, everyday my mom cries. She will die before her daughter gets out. Very sad for all of us. I have not visited her yet, there is still anger, shame, stigma, and disappointment. Very sad for all of us.

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Shared By Anon

No, I do not visit my uncle, because I like to stay focused on matters that are important, and HE made that decision to be there.

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Shared by Randy

These facts leave me with a lot of negative feelings. Makes me look upon my own childhood and the many instances that could have led to my demise. My mother is incarcerated, I do not talk to her. Adopted at 9, still scarred, but never held down by the weight or pain. I do not visit, I do not wish to reopen those wounds as life is finally good to me.

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Shared by Anon

It takes time… To write to them, To listen to them when they call, To take half of the day to visit, Its costly and affects our budget gas to visit and money for food.

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Shared by Catherine

One area that should be decriminalized is drug use. People in general should realize that there but for the grace of God goes I. Those who are hurting, hurt people and themselves. We are all sinners in a fallen world. The one and only hope in or Lord God. My brother is incarcerated and I always have underlying sadness. I dont visit as often as I should because it gets me depressed. Then I feel guilty because of Matthew 25 in the bible.

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Shared by Lisa

I am a single parent and its just sad that we are losing our children’s fathers to prison society and our children have to suffer. Most of the fathers are good supporters, but make wrong decisions on how they support, and be a role model for their children.

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Shared by Anon

Having an incarcerated family member makes me appreciate my freedom, and value family. Because you never know when you can lose them to jail, and/or death.

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Shared by K

My future husband and poppy to my grandchildren is incarcerated. His pre release date was never fulfilled, we were all looking forward to that date, Now here it is a year later and he’s still not home, It sucks. We visit because thats his only way to get to see us, this system gives us no other choice.

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Shared By Sonia

Having an incarcerated family member impacts my daily routine, due to the fact that I am the sole provider for my household, that I have lost the one person I can depend on, and the hurt of missing him and watching my grandchildren miss him is hard. Everything falls on my shoulders. Sometimes it seems as if I am carrying the weight of the word alone. But through it all God continues to bless me because there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that is a hope that I can look forward to him returning home soon one day. So I am not complaining because I know that is not the case for as many others who will never see freedom, or be with their families again.

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Family Interrupted Project

For the past year, I have been working in conjunction with my mural class at Graterford Prison, various ex-offender organizations on the streets and families of the incarcerated throughout the city. The theme of our collaborations, and my subsequent mural explores the impact of incarceration on Philadelphia families. Family Interrupted is my growing multidisciplinary project, that contains the input, stories, and hard work of over 100 contributors as of this date. Mural Arts and I have partnered with the Pennsylvania Prison Society and their facilitator Anne Shwartzmann, running workshops with groups of people and organizations (such as M.I.M.I.C. based in North Philadelphia) across the city, as well as in the Prison Society, Graterford, and St Gabriel’s Hall. These participants are impacted by incarceration at various levels. For example, The Graterford Class and their families are looking at 20 plus years of separation, one man in my class will be behind bars for his 40th year this year. These men have seen the face of their entire family change in that time, and yet there are dedicated family members that frequently visit and write out of loyalty, and responsibility. In St Gabriel’s Hall, youth can qualify for weekend furloughs to see their families, and then go back to jail during the week. Since the mid 90′s only 5 men have ever received commutations on their life sentences, we have worked with 3 of these men for this project as well as men who have served their time and have been released. They have shared their experiences about the reintegration process within their communities and their own families; most memorably to an audience of the teens and young adults of Mural Arts’ Youth Violence Reduction Program. These forums were not the only way in which people can become involved in the project. The Guild program under Janice Smith has constructed 12 mailboxes, painted by myself and the Graterford program. These boxes are placed in various Prison visit waiting rooms, the Prison Society, Main branch of the Public Library, City Hall, The Gallery at Market East and in the neighborhood of the mural. Each box comes with a questionnaire that invites the participant to share their experiences in having a loved one or family member incarcerated. We are aiming to hear directly from the families while they are waiting for their visitation, a time when they may just want to vent, and be … Continue reading

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