One of my frustrations with both academic research and media reporting on crime and criminal justice issues is that we often ignore the voices of those directly impacted by the system. Not just the voices of those incarcerated, but also those who endure life as one related to an incarcerated individual. There are a few books written from the point of view of prisoners (Life without Parole comes to mind), a few on the impact of parental incarceration on children (fortunately this is a growing research area), and little to nothing from the point of view of parolees. It is frustrating because it makes it easy to forget that we are dealing with people, and easy to forget that the policies created impact millions of lives on a daily basis.
It also frustrating because, as a teacher, I try to give my students as complete a picture as possible. It is incredibly easy to discuss the administrative aspects of the criminal justice system, or of running a prison, but that is only half of the story. The other half involves discussing how our court systems are perceived by the accused, how prison life impacts an individual, the challenges one faces after leaving prison, and yes, the impact of parental incarceration on children. So, I am constantly in search of other forms of media, beyond written pieces, to help convey these issues to my student. Periodically, I find a gem that perfectly captures the issues at hand. This is one such clip: