When: November 17, 2020, 3:00pm to 4:30pm ET
Where: Zoom webinar

Panel 1: Looking from the Outside In: The Current State of Family Connections


  • Marcus Bullock, CEO, Flikshop


  • Jennifer Toon, Formerly Incarcerated Criminal Justice Advocate, Columnist, and Freelance Writer

  • Rachael Reese, Federal and State Criminal Defense Attorney, O’Brien, Hatfield, and Reese

  • Sun’Shyne Mathieu, Daughters Beyond Incarceration Mentee

  • Denise Rock, Executive Director, Florida Cares

Panel 2: Improving Policies and Current Practices


  • Emily Mooney, Criminal Justice Policy Fellow, R Street Institute


    • Kristina Toth, Administrator of The Family Connections Center, New Hampshire Department of Corrections
    • Felicity Rose, Chief of Research and Policy for Criminal Justice, FWD.us
    • Elizabeth Gaynes, President and CEO, The Osborne Association

While incarceration is an individual punishment, in reality, it tangibly impacts millions of Americans. Mothers and fathers are separated from their children, adolescents from their parents and siblings from their best friend. Research published in 2018 estimated that “64% of adults in the United States have had an immediate or extended family member in jail or prison.”

For families, incarceration can come with potentially grim effects. People outside of bars may bear psychological, emotional and financial consequences from this separation, and their loved one inside prison or jail also suffers without their support. Indeed, both first-hand testimonials and academic research show us that maintaining and, if possible, strengthening family connections during incarceration is critical for families, individuals and public safety. Put simply, strong families build strong communities.

Unfortunately, opportunities for quality connections with those behind bars are often too few and far between. Even in the best of times, people face financial, geographic and administrative barriers when attempting to contact a family member. During the pandemic, these problems have only been accentuated as facilities have stopped in-person visitation and been slow to adopt more innovative technology.

Please join R Street for this two-part event in which we speak with directly impacted families, practitioners and researchers to dig deeper into the role of and current barriers to family connections and identify ways in which technology and policy change can help.