This Article reviews the literature describing the rise of mass incarceration and its effects on individuals, families, and communities. The Article then describes the Just Beginning “Baby Elmo” Program, a cost-effective, sustainable parental instruction and child visitation intervention created for use with incarcerated teen parents. This intervention is designed to increase the quality of interaction between parent and child, increasing the likelihood that the teen father and child will form a positive relationship and maintain that relationship after release from detention—thereby increasing the child’s resilience and reducing the risk of recidivism for the teen father. The “Baby Elmo” Program is one of a number of intervention programs that attempt to address the significant and debilitating effects of mass incarceration by improving family relationships, school performance, and in-detention compliance, hopefully reducing recidivism and facilitating reentry of incarcerated youth into their families and communities.
Shani King, Rachel Barr & Jennifer Woolard, Cost-Effective Juvenile Justice Reform: Lessons From The Just Beginning “Baby Elmo” Teen Parenting Program, 93 N.C. L. Rev. 1381 (2015), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/680