Author Archives: Eric Okdeh
The facts are what they are… FACTS, and reality of a growing population. I have several family members that are in prison. Aunt: incarcerated throughout my childhood for shoplifting, drugs, and prostitution. Uncle: as a child, and again recently for shoplifting, drugs, and assault charges. 2nd Uncle: incarcerated from the time I was 6 to now (27 years old) My family does not discuss reasons.
Everyone chooses own path regardless of race. Parents who commit crimes condemn their own children. My son’s father is incarcerated I am alone in financially supporting my child. Raising- I am happy he is out of our lives financial- I am BROKE and PA discontinues any financial support once the parent is locked up.
One of my brothers has been in and out of prison since he was 14 years old. He’s 24 this year. I don’t remember the last time he was here for a holiday. My older brother, M.E.F., committed suicide when I was 15 years old. He was only 21 years old. We believe he did it because of the high levels of cocaine he was on and because he was on the verge of going back to jail. My Brother would rather have died, than be sent back to jail.
Society likes to believe in human progress, but…(?) Perhaps there are issues which need interdisciplinary approaches. Everything from psychology to theology to medicine to sociology
I have a cousin who is incarcerated, its extremely hard.I miss him, long phone calls are not fun. I would visit him, but my mom wont let me.
Last September, I met Sean, the Director of Public Programming at Eastern State Penitentiary. We were both participating in a talk at the Philadelphia History Museum about art programs involving Prisons. After learning about Family Interrupted, Sean expressed interest in hosting one of our Mailboxes at Eastern State. We jumped at the opportunity, and this past week I collected a gigantic bag of responses from Eastern State. Many thanks to Sean and his team, who are looking forward to keeping our mailbox on site for the for see-able future, and in doing so helping further this conversation about the impact of incarceration on families with the greater public.
Well I wish these facts were not so, but since fathers and mothers with children are in jail is very sad. Maybe there’ll be change in the future with less parents in jail. My brother is in jail. I think about his health and welfare every day, and I hope to see him released one day. I try to visit my brother at least three or four times a year because I love and care about him forever.
My older brother has been incarcerated since I was 11 years old. My family struggles because he was the breadwinner, along with my mother. I lost a best friend and a father figure. I always visit my brother, he is my heart! I will always show him love and support!
My lover and best friend is incarcerated. It is a hinderance on the whole family, me and our kids. I make time to visit because thats the only way he will be sane.
The Prison makes it hard for visiting your loved one. They make you wait and wait, and change the rules whenever they want to. You are treated like a prisoner and less than when visiting. Overall its made it very hard to visit based on long waits and unpleasant personnel. For 20 years I have visited and never been treated as another person or an equal to prison staff.
I have a brother that is incarcerated. He has been behind the prison walls for 31 years. He is serving a life sentence, Life without parole. He and I are not quite a year apart in age. When he got arrested he left behind a 2 month old baby girl, she’s now 31 years old with 2 sons. I always wonder what kind of life my brother would have had if he hadn’t got arrested? He was 22 yrs old at the threshold of manhood. I know he would have been a great father & a great grandfather! I know he would have been a successful God fearing man! These days folk don’t fear nothing because they lost HOPE! My brother has survived all these years behind the prison walls because hope is still alive in him. Praise God! I know he would have made sacrifices for the sake of others (he was always a giver) still is! I know each day he wakes up and things are still the same, it’s a sacrifice! He is the best brother that anyone could be proud of and I’m very proud of him (My Brother). I love and miss my brother so much!
Family Interrupted is coming to the Philadelphia History Museum at Atwater Kent! The Family Interrupted/Community Connected Exhibition will be held in the Community Voices Gallery in the Museum, which is located at 15 South 7th Street. The exhibit will run from July 11, 2012 – December 31, 2012. The exhibit features a massive 14′ wide print on the finished mural; a print so large, you can scan the mural’s many QR codes using a smartphone. You can hear audio and interact with the project’s website on the SPOT! Those without a smartphone can still get involved by leaving a message in two of our featured mailboxes, which will get posted to the site. Visit the museum to see these and other artifacts from the year and a half long initiative. This exhibit is also features a video showing the history of the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia, and its Restorative Justice Program, of which Family Interrupted is its newest project. Come out for the opening reception August 9th 5:30pm Photo by Michael Reali Originally posted at blog.ericokdeh.com
My dad is 70yrs old approaching 40 years in prison. I’m his oldest child. I’m 49yrs old and since a young girl I craved a normal daddy daughter relationship. Dad and I do the best we can at building a daddy’s girl’s relationship, therefore I travel 7 hours to the prison every three months. So hyped when I see my dad behind that glass barrier, but when it’s time to leave him I’m that lost little girl All over again until our next visit. Sometimes I feel my soul is stuck there in the cell with my daddy He’s constantly on my mind trapping me Right there with him in solitary confinement.
My son is incarcerated. It’s a burden. I visit him when I’m able to travel. He is here in PA and I live in Nevada.
My dad is incarcerated, I think about him all the time. I wonder if he’s OK or not, and hope that he is in good health. I visit him because he’s my dad and people do stupid things when their young.
The following Audio clips were recorded during a group session moderated by the PA Prison Society’s Ann Shwartzman featuring M.I.M.I.C and The Wise Men (two local ex offender groups working to keep teens from travelling down a similar path). The session took place in front of youth from The Mural Arts Program’s Youth Violence Reduction Program (Y.V.R.P.) and a larger audience comprised of families of the incarcerated and the public. This event was held in August 2011 at the Thomas Eakins House, MAP’s headquarters. Commutations in Pennsylvania (00:24) Tyrone’s Family (01:25) 23,505 Days (02:47) The Isolation of Re-entry (01:38) A Lifer Apologizes (01:22) Stop, Think, Listen (00:37) The Origin of M.I.M.I.C. (Men In Motion in the Community) (01:24) Cemeteries for the Living (00:39) In Their Lives (00:41) Feeling Safe (02:32) Mother of a Newly Convicted Lifer (01:19) Prison Beds (04:16) Comments by a visitor from Dallas (02:30) A Student in Y.V.R.P (Youth Violence Reduction Program) Responds (01:56) A Sixteen Year-Old’s Perspective (02:02) A Closing Message (00:37)
In response to these facts: Did you know? One in every 28 adults were in prison, jail, or in probation or parole in PA in 2009 (Pew Report, 2009) There are more than 1.7 million children in the United Stated with an incarcerated parent including one in 15 African American children, one in 42 Hispanic children and one in 111 caucasian children. (The Sentencing Project 2009) Over half of incarcerated fathers reported that they were the primary source of financial support for their children prior to their incarceration. (Glaze and Maruschak Incarceration and the Family: A review of Research and Promising Approaches for Serving Fathers and Families, 2008) Sometimes, its just the tree you arrived from, or just dumb choices. I have a family member that is incarcerated, but the relationship isn’t important. Having an incarcerated family member in no way impacts me. I just stay in prayer and hope the individual will become better.
These inmates have potential but they need more guidance. Lack of support has them continuing to mess up and come back in the system. My Husband is incarcerated and I have (?) many times but sometimes is becomes normal to them once they been in the system. Thats the way to live. I stress and get worried if he is going to be mentally stable. Support makes a difference and gives them hope to strive to be the right thing in the future for the sake of their family. Shared by anon These children have suffered terribly. 3 of their sons, my beloved nephews, have died. The other children have suffered terribly and still live with the effects, as it does the rest of us. The pain penetrates my soul daily.
My wife is incarcerated, and my whole life has been interrupted, crushed emotionally, food, $, in every aspect. I visit because she needs the support. .
In response to the posted facts: It puts me more in prayer with God, that he touches his children and shows them a different way. I pray a solution is provided somehow for their suffering. I have many family members incarcerated, and it is not trying anymore. God has given me peace w their situations. I absolutely would visit them. They are my family and they made an ill decision that cost them their freedom, but it doesn’t lessen my love for them