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Prison Baby: Daughter of an Inmate Describes Conflicted Feelings on Father’s Day

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by Crystal Hayes

Last week was Father’s Day and it explains why I had such a hard time sleeping all week. Of all the holidays, I have the most complicated relationship with Father’s Day. It’s a regular reminder of what was stolen from me. After 41 years it’s still hard. I cut my teeth and grew up behind prison walls and I am not alone. There are nearly 3 million children in the United States growing up with an incarcerated parent.

The United States imprisons more people than any other country in the world with devastating consequences for the poor, and Black and Brown communities and their children. We incarcerate over 2 million people and many of them long-term due to overly harsh drug laws and rigid sentencing practices obsessed with locking people up for profit. There’s no way out of this without comprehensive prison reform policies.

I am glad to see that we’re talking about ending the war on drugs, but we must do more than rename it. We also need to expand the conversation about mass incarceration to include the truth about parole and life sentences. My father, Robert Seth Hayes, was sentenced to 25 years to life for his involvement with the Black Panther Party, but not life without parole.  He was eligible for parole in 1995 but every two years for the past 18 years he’s denied release—despite an exemplary prison record—by the New York State Parole Board.

Read Original Article At Naturally Moi

4 Responses to Prison Baby: Daughter of an Inmate Describes Conflicted Feelings on Father’s Day

  1. MB

    June 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    You are very confusing, you talk in the third person and at the beginning of you statement, I just knew you were white. As for as studies goes, just remember who is doing them. They are hoping that we buy into the make believe and we do, that is why we as people end up in the situations that we are. It is not so much as what the sentence is but how disproportionally it is handed out to men of color. I am not disagreeing with you about our men taking responsibility, but if you want that to change you better grab your children from the mass media (TV, radio, internet, video games and the like), because they are doing more harm them we as black people can ever imagine.

    • Harrison

      June 26, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Well if by talking crap about the way this person writes or speaks you are trying to sound intellectual or intelligent think again you missed the mark by a landslide. You cannot form a complete or correctly worded sentence. Shame on you.

  2. Patrick

    June 24, 2013 at 10:05 am

    My thoughts &prayers go out to you in dealing with the derivatives of the mass incarceration. I at one time was a victim of America’s race to fill up the prisons. Even though I was incarcerated for a short term, I understand the effects it has on children. The first three words of the constituiton reads…We the people, who does it refer too? It’s a travesty and injustice that this country serves the main courses of racism and classicism, without much thought. Please continue to write article such as these tolet the masses hear your voice and if there is any insight you need to voice the effects, I’d be glad to contribute. Peace be unto you!

  3. Yvey

    June 24, 2013 at 3:27 am

    U kno, I too am 1 apart of that popultion of 3 million fatherless children in America. The hardest part for me isn’t even just the fact that my father has been imprisoned most of my entire life, it’s the reason he’s there. I’m bothered by his ignorance, by his lack of understanding, by his recklaceness, and disregard for the lives of others namely his children. My issue with the judicial system is remedial compared to that of the one I have with black men that don’t do the right thing by there families. I understand many of u black dont know any better, but its time now to wake up and smell the coffee. U need to open ur minds and receive the truth. Yes we know the criminal court is against you, we know that they’ve put every obstacle in place to keep us oppressed which then forces many of us to retaliate and then feel the raft of their scrutiny and unjust harsh punishments. But our men, our fathers, our sons have to be smarter about their strategies and tactics to move us forward, granted a lot of our men are in prison for drug charges but wat about the ones in jail for murder and rape of your own. My issue is the fact that when we commit “crimes” against them were penalised to highest extent, but wen we hurt one another there’s no retribution. Infact we sit in those very cells plotting and scheming on how to hurt and kill eachother some more. We’re fighting the wrong fight, we’re fighting against the wrong people. We shouldn’t hate eachother and ourselves so much. It’s not fair to our ancestors, their blood has been spread all across world, on every soil that man walks. We can not continue to let their sufferation, torture, and murder go in vain. We have to fight back, our strength is is in numbers united we stand, divided we fall. That’s why they can come in and conquer us because we have no unity. When we reach a time where we can stop hating eachother and fearing them only then will you see less wrongful imprisonment. We can protest til kingdom come, with out unity we don’t stand a chance. For black men that have their “freedom” use it wisely do the right thing by ur women and children, charity starts at home. Always bare that in mind when your In search of the affections of other women outside ur race, take into consideration the negative effect that its going to have on ur community. It breaks my heart to see how many “mixed race” children have their biological black fathers in their lives, providing and doing for them and to see how many of us are bastards, rejected by these same men because they don’t love our mothers enough. I can guarantee that 3/4 of the population of black people imprisoned were mostly fatherless children. Studies have proven that a child raised in single parent household is 8 out of 10 times more likely to commit a criminal offence than that of a child raised in two parent household. Black men, stand up for us. Protect us and our offspring. It’s the only way we’ll win’