Captive Lives: Children of Incarcerated Parents
Date:  09-21-2016

Efforts are underway to increase the odds of success for the largely ignored 10 million children with an incarcerated parent
From the San Francisco Chronicle

Luna Garcia swipes through the photos on her phone until she finds it — the one of a young man with a slight mustache standing against a wall, his blue shirt neatly pressed, holding a chubby baby girl.

It’s the kind of picture someone might snap at a holiday dinner, a grainy image of a girl and her dad. But just out of the frame are armed guards and metal doors. It was visiting day at San Quentin State Prison. It’s a rare photo of Luna with her father. Now 17, she doesn’t have any of him at birthday parties or science fairs. Jose Garcia was serving two years in San Quentin when she was born and has been in and out of incarceration ever since. In the few photos she does have, she can trace the passing years by the colors of his prison jumpsuits.

“He tells me that’s the only thing he knows how to do,” Luna says, her voice flat, resigned. “Prison is all he knows.” Jose Garcia, who has served time primarily for drug offenses and auto theft, isn’t the only one paying a price for his crimes. Luna is, too. She carries the burden and the stigma of having a father who is not just absent but behind bars, a fact that studies show gives her and children like her long odds at success in life. Continue reading