CRANSTON, R.I. – February 29, 2008 – What has Rhode Island’s response been to supporting the over 4,300 children who had a parent released from prison last year and their caregivers? What are the ripple effects when a mother or father is sentenced to jail time? What would have made a difference in an offender’s life that would have led him or her to make better choices? During incarceration, what helped (or didn’t) prepare parent offenders for life on the outside? Post-release, what services and supports were (or weren’t) in place to assist in the reunification of the family?
These are just some of the challenging issues that will be addressed in a day-long conference titled Interrupted Life: How Do We Break the Cycle of Inter-generational Crime and Violence? on Thursday, April 10, 2008, on the Bryant University campus in Smithfield. Co-sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Making Connections, Providence; Bryant University; The City of Providence; The Family Life Center; the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC); Rhode Island Kids Count; and Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education (RISE), the conference will feature national and local speakers in the morning and a variety of break-out panels in the afternoon, all aimed at facilitating dialogue and discussing solutions to one of the most significant issues facing Rhode Islanders today. Some of the panels will include formerly incarcerated parents and the adult children of currently or formerly incarcerated parents.
Plenary sessions will be held in the Heidi & Walter Stepan Grand Hall of the George E. Bello Center for Information and Technology. Providence Mayor David Cicilline will deliver the keynote address. Featured presenters will include Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts; Patricia Martinez, Executive Director of the RI Department of Children, Youth, & Families; Ashbel T. Wall II, Director of the RI Department of Corrections; Elizabeth Burk Bryant, Executive Director of RI Kids Count; Sandra Enos, Associate Professor of Sociology, Bryant University; Carol Thompson, Senior Associate, the Ann E. Casey Foundation, and Joyce Dixson-Haskett of Resiliency Without Compromise, Inc.
Details are still being finalized on three simultaneous afternoon breakout sessions to be held in Bryant’s Student Center. One will focus on the work being done within the correctional setting, one will focus on transitional services, and another will discuss community-based programming.
In conjunction with the conference, Interrupted Life, a Ford Foundation-sponsored traveling public art installation examining the lives of incarcerated mothers and their families, will be on display at Providence’s AS220 Project Space, located at 93 Mathewson Street, throughout the month of April. An opening reception will be held on Sunday, April 6, 2008, from 4 – 7 p.m. at the gallery.
Attendance at both the conference and the reception is free. Registration is required for the conference and seating is limited. Details are still being determined and a brochure, with registration form, will be forthcoming. Please call (401) 462-0608 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a brochure.