"P" Is For Prison: Sesame Street Teaches Kids To Deal With Mom Going To Jail

A lot of people think it’s a nice initiative. More are sad it even has to exist. posted on

1. The “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration,” project seeks to support young children and families who are experiencing this life-changing circumstance, Sesame Street said in a statement.

They cited a statistic from a Bureau of Justice Statistics report entitled “Parents in prison and their minor children,” which says the number of children with an incarcerated parent has increased nearly 80 percent in the past 20 years.

2. Here is a little bit of the bilingual (English and Spanish) initiative.

The program is distributing “tool kits’’ to schools, community centers and jails in 10 states to help kids ages 3 to 8. There are also apps for iPhone and Android.

3. The toolkit has tips like telling a child to hold a picture of their incarcerated parent while they talk to them on the phone.

4. On Twitter many said they understood why the program exists, but found it sad nonetheless.

This is horribly depressing. Sesame Street helps kids cope with incarceration of parents. - Dr. Q http://t.co/VvFwhV9lrW

Man. It's just heartbreaking that there would be a need for this. But good on them for doing it. http://t.co/ClMozwsYcb

6. Libertarian magazine, Reason, had this response:

CONGRATULATIONS, AMERICA, ON MAKING IT ALMOST NORMAL TO HAVE A PARENT IN PRISON OR JAIL: http://t.co/R8iXEgmlYW

7. Sesame Street says defense contractor BAE Systems is a major donor for the project, which the Atlantic Wire calls “the most awkward part.”


The British contractor, whose U.S. subsidiary is one of the largest suppliers to the Department of Defense, depends — like many other defense contractors — on the low-overhead labor of prisoners incarcerated at for-profit facilities. That said, BAE has a large philanthropic arm, and perhaps “Little Children, Big Challenges” was one of the more obvious projects to support.

8. Still, it can’t be too nefarious to have children who are going through a lot writing a few extra letters to a parent they don’t get to see everyday.

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