Rikers Island inmate Hilda Castenda hugs her prison kids during visit at Children's Museum.

Rikers Island’s Women Inmates Bond with Their Prison Kids at Children’s Museum

Women incarcerated at Rikers Island will be using art to bond with their children at the Children’s Museum in Manhattan, NY. This was revealed by Mayoral First Lady Chirlane McCray. The plan is essentially a pilot program between the museum and the NYDOC, with the goal of helping women inmates connect with their children.

The NYC Children’s Museum will soon be closed to the public. But it will become available for incarcerated women to connect with their children via art. Custodial caregivers of their prison kids will also be able to connect with imprisoned women at the museum.

The ultimate objective of this pilot program is to remove the sense of separation between families divided by incarceration. It is also aimed at healing the emotional wounds created by the imprisonment of a loved one, specifically mothers in prisons.

First Lady Chirlane McCray Reads to Kids of Rikers Island at Children's Museum
First Lady Chirlane McCray Reads to Kids of Rikers Island at Children’s Museum. Image Source: CMom

Close Bonding with Prison Kids Promotes Quality Physical & Mental Development

First Lady McCray explained that children require quality time with parents to develop mentally and emotionally. A Health and Learning Hub program at the children’s museum earlier proved that art ease emotional anxieties in children.

The First Lady said:

“Time spent together outside of a jail environment, making art, dancing, and enjoying music will provide children with opportunities to express themselves and relieve the anxieties that so many families of incarcerated women experience.”

Before this, she announced a $6 million investment scheme to reduce the number of women entering into prisons in the state. The latest pilot program of joining imprisoned women with their kids at the children’s museum is to break the cycle of women incarceration by strengthening family bonds.

Rikers Island inmate Hilda Castenda hugs her prison kids during visit at Children's Museum.
Rikers Island inmate Hilda Castenda hugs her prison kids during visit at Children’s Museum. Image Source: CMom

Children Suffer More When Their Moms Are Incarcerated

This is a step in the right direction considering that nearly 7% of the total jail population in New York City is women. Most of these are mothers who have become separated from their kids due to incarceration.

Read OITNB Reminds Us What Happens When Mom Goes to Prison

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett hailed the social initiates of the First Lady by reemphasizing the importance of bonding between incarcerated parents and their children.

She said a tight family unit helps to promote the physical and mental well-being of mother and child, as well as other loved ones, even when a loved one is incarcerated.

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Charles Omedo
Charles Omedo has a degree in Mass Communication and a PGD in Digital Communication. He worked as a newspaper/magazine reporter and editor for many years. Now, he writes daily news articles for private clients. Charles has written for US/UK/Canadian/Indian clients on various niches. He currently writes prison news for loved ones of inmates on the Prison Rideshare Network.
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