The Clemency Report: Children Deserve Legal Standing When Parents are Sentenced
Date:  01-05-2015

Children should have rights established by law instead of being victims of collateral consequences
On December 23, 2014 Reentry Central reposted an article that appeared in the The Nation that told of the damage done to children when their parents are incarcerated. The article stated that new data that disproved the prevailing belief children are better off without parents that commit crimes.

But children whose parents are facing sentencing have little sway before a judge or prosecutor. The Clemency Report believes this should not be the case and is calling for children to be given legal standing when their parents are to be sentenced.

From The Clemency Report: “Children have a legal and moral right to “standing” when a parent is removed from their lives — at any time, including a criminal sentencing. Denying children their right to advocate for their interests is wrong as a matter of legal principle. Children meet traditional grounds for legal standing: the right to be heard in court and seek redress from harm. Children often meet the criteria of standing more clearly than prosecutors do. The test for standing varies in federal and state courts but basically boils down to this three-part test. To gain standing, a person needs to show:

  • Injury-in-fact. A person must suffer concrete, articulable harm, not just a vague and theoretical claim of harm.

  • Causation. A causal connection must exist between the party seeking standing the action causing harm and the party inflicting harm.

  • Redressability. The court must possess the power to correct the harm. Do children meet this three-part test in the sentencing of a parent? Absolutely.”

    Read the full article here.