Press Release
July 10, 2013

Binay bill gives jailed mothers a way to perform parental duties
Seeks to provide mechanism, support programs for single parents

True to her advocacy for women and children, Sen. Nancy S. Binay is pushing for a bill that would establish practical mechanisms and family-oriented programs for incarcerated parents to be able to provide necessary care and parenting support for their children.

Entitled "Parents in Jail Act of 2013", the bill recognizes that the imprisonment of a convicted criminal also affects the offender's family.

Binay's bill removes the distinction between mother and father, and establishes a framework that will allow parents in prison, even single parents, to extend the needed care to their children who are often affected by their uncommon family setup.

"Aside from the fact that their parent-children bond is already suffering, jailed parents always have this fear that their children may not be cared for by their guardians or grow up reckless. Maraming kaso na mas napapariwara ang mga bata since they have difficulty in understanding their situation," Binay explained.

Studies show that children of incarcerated parents often experience depression, anxiety, withdrawal, delinquency that lead to behavior problems and worst resort to substance abuse.

"Ayaw nating maligaw ng landas ang mga bata. What we are after is to help mitigate the emotional, psychological and even the social impact of this kind of family setup. We should have mechanisms and programs that are aimed to maintain parent-children relationship during incarceration and lessen the effects the situation may have on the children," Binay said.

In recent studies, many incarcerated parents have difficult childhood themselves but psychologists suggest that "social intervention" is necessary to lessen the negative consequences in children.

The lady senator wants the courts, in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), to be responsible in arranging the placement and guardianship of the accused parent's children, especially if the parent has minor children.

This bill will help establish concrete means wherein incarcerated mothers, whose children are still under a year old, have assured access to health care services like medicine, reproductive health and gynecological services and most especially pediatric care for the babies in the prisons where they are staying.

Aside from these, the Parents in Jail Act of 2013 also proposes the establishment of child-friendly visitation programs for solo parents, where in a special room will be provided for them.

The bill also proposes access to independent monitoring institutions such as the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to monitor the condition of the prison facilities and check the condition of imprisoned solo parents and children availing of the services.

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