Community

Almost all of our clients who are incarcerated are men; they leave behind wives, children, mothers, fathers and/or other family members. We support these families throughout the whole judicial process and during incarceration with understanding, counseling and legal assistance or refer them to other agencies if necessary on a case by case basis.  We help them deal with the stigmas and ostracism in their communities. We form bridges between them and their loved ones, reassure them as to the status of their family member and sometimes help to facilitate "Gets". We call our families weekly or monthly and support our families for as long as they need until they are back on their feet. 

 

 

  Understanding the Issue

 

  Effects on Families

·   Family members of incarcerated individuals are often referred to as "hidden victims".  They are victims of the criminal justice system who are neither acknowledged nor given a platform to be heard in the justice system. They receive little personal support and do not benefit from the systemic societal mechanisms generally available to direct crime victims, despite the similarities to direct crime victims.

 

·    There is less social support to cope with the stress associated with their partner’s imprisonment as friends and family and the community withdraw because of the stigma (Arditti 2003). The partner’s absence is not publicly mourned or socially validated. This can lead to exacerbated grief (Arditti 2003). 

 

·    Marital relationships are severely weakened when one partner is incarcerated. There are barriers to contact and communication in prisons. There are changes in roles that result from the men’s absence. The divorce rate among couples where one spouse is incarcerated for one year or more is 80 percent for men and close to 100 percent for women.

·         The loss of direct income can create a significant burden on struggling families, especially when it is combined with the additional costs associated with arrest and imprisonment, including attorney fees, collect calls from prison, and the expenses of traveling to the prison and providing material goods for the inmate (Arditti 2005). For single mothers, the stress of financial hardship has been linked with psychological distress. Many women have to go on public assistance as a result of their partner’s incarceration.

·         Parenting also may become more challenging because many children whose parents are imprisoned show elevated rates of social problems (Jose-Kampfner, 1995; Murray & Farrington, 2005).

 

 ·         While the level of the crime can vary, the family will receive a life-long sentence and often suffer life-long shame.

Hinda Heroes

  Legal Support

My son is fighting a court-case. Hinda identified my son as a Jewish person a year ago in jail. They began immediately to provide support to him. Chaplains from the Hinda Institute visit my son every week. Their help was completely unsolicited and they gave us real support. My son always felt traditional and was happy to see a rabbi visiting with tefillin and arranging kosher food.
They helped me to find a lawyer for his defense and support me each time I am in the courtroom and have formed a defense support team. More importantly for me, they managed miraculously to secure a rehabilitation facility as our justice system lumbers on that would take him despite the pending charges. He is now getting proper treatment for the first time ever. Through the kindness and help of the Hinda institute, I now have real hope for his improvement.
 I have also enjoyed attending their support groups for mothers and classes. We are continuing to fight the court case; the process feels fragile to me but they continue to support us and are optimistic. Rabbi Scheiman says to think positively - this whole incident is ridiculous and we will win. In a weird way, this incident has been pivotal in creating community support for us and improvement for my son. It is incredible to me.
 As we await justice, I’m most thankful for the Hinda Institute. The Hinda Institute helped me find an attorney, attended court with me and supported me throughout the stressful legal process.