Millions of U.S. children have incarcerated parents

Savannah, GA (WSAV) – Right now in the United States, more than 2 million people are serving time in state or federal prisons and jails, but what’s often forgotten about those inmates are their children.

A new study shows 7% of kids in the U.S. have had at least one parent incarcerated during their childhood; South Carolina is right on the national average at 7% (73,000 kids), and Georgia is at 8% (189,000 kids).

Stanley (right) with his father (center)
Stanley (right) with his father (center)

Savannah native Stanley Jackson watched his father go in and out of prison his entire life, and Jackson told News 3 from a young age, he felt pressure from people around him to start doing the same things as his dad.

“I had certain people in my ear you know, ‘Oh your dad was this type of gangster, he do this, he do that, why won’t you do it?'” said Jackson. “I felt like, you know, I can’t make my daddy look bad.”

Jackson quickly developed anger issues he partially blames on his father’s absence, and eventually was sent to prison.

Once released, he joined the Savannah Impact Program hoping to steer his life in the right direction; but one day, everything changed.

“I was walking down the street from Savannah Impact and I got shot in my face,” he said. “I just felt like, you know, God doesn’t love me because I’m changing and he let this happen to me?”

Jackson turned back to the streets, selling drugs and robbing people, eventually getting locked up again.

Stanley and his newborn son
Stanley and his newborn son

But it was then, during his second stint in prison, where he realized it was time to make things right for good.

When he got out again, he went to school; and now, at 25, he works as a manager at Checkers, he’s engaged, and even has a newborn son who Jackson said will never experience what he did as a child.

“I just really want to be active and just be there throughout his whole life,” he said. “Any games, he has something to do, I want to be there because that’s the first and foremost a father should do just be in they child’s life.”

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