CRANSTON, R.I. – April 3, 2008 – The registration deadline for a free daylong conference addressing issues of concern regarding the children of incarcerated men and women in Rhode Island to be held on Thursday, April 10th, at Bryant University has been extended to the end of the day on Monday, April 7th. 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 three simultaneous break-out panels in the afternoon. Its goal is to facilitate dialogue and discuss solutions to the question of how the state and the community can address the many issues facing the thousands of Rhode Island children who have an incarcerated parent and their caregivers.
Plenary sessions will be held in the Heidi & Walter Stepan Grand Hall of the George E. Bello Center for Information and Technology on Bryant’s Smithfield, RI, campus. Registration and refreshments will begin at 8 a.m., followed by openings remarks and Providence Mayor David Cicilline’s keynote address, Breaking the Cycle: A Call to Action for Children of the Incarcerated, at 8:30. His talk will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Elizabeth Burke- Bryant, Executive Director of RI Kids Count, titled Effective Services and Supports for Children of Incarcerated Parents. Panelists will include Patricia Martinez, Executive Director of the RI Department of Children, Youth, & Families; Brother Michael Reis, Executive Director, Tides Family Services; Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts, and Corrections Director Ashbel T. Wall II.
Sandra Enos, Associate Professor of Sociology, Bryant University and author of Mothering from the Inside: Parenting in a Women’s Prison (SUNY Press 2001) and Carole Thompson, Senior Associate with The Annie E. Casey Foundation, will then present Interrupted Childhoods: National Perspectives on the Needs of the Children of Incarcerated Parents.
Following a complimentary lunch at noon, the afternoon portion of the program will kick off with a 1 p.m. presentation by Joyce Dixson-Haskett, Principal of Resiliency Without Compromise, Inc., titled Levels of Response to Traumatic Events – Rhode Island: A Vital Aid in Serving Children of Incarcerated Parents. Dixson-Haskett developed the LORTE curriculum, which is used by the RIDOC, and is a formerly incarcerated mother, having spent nearly 18 years behind bars.
At 2:15 p.m., conference participants will be divided into three breakout sessions to be held in Bryant’s Student Center. One will focus on the work being done within the correctional setting and will be moderated by Carole Dwyer, Warden of the RIDOC’s Women’s Facilities; another on transitional services will be moderated by Teresa Foley, Transitional Services Coordinator at the RIDOC, and the third will be moderated by Sol Rodriguez, Executive Director of The Family Life Center, and will address community-based programming. Each panel will include a mix of formerly incarcerated parents, caregivers, state officials, and community-based service providers.
The day will conclude with wrap-up and discussion of next steps from 3:30 – 4:30. Girl Scout cookies will be available for sale during the event, the proceeds from which will go to support summer camps for the children of incarcerated inmates.
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. The public is invited.
Attendance at both the conference and the reception is free. Registration is required for the conference and seating is limited. Brochures are available online at www.doc.ri.gov, under Media and Community Relations, or by calling (401) 462-0608 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.