An informal sentence for families of prisoners

January 25, 2018

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Prisoner. Criminal. Delinquent.

There isn’t a lot of room for gray in these words. When Andrea Casamento’s son was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, then, her family was suddenly fighting a very lonely battle to exonerate him.

In many ways, her son’s sentence was a sentence for the whole family. Andrea’s time was torn between caring for her two younger children and navigating the criminal justice system with her incarcerated son. As a woman, parent and human being, she found her world – and that of her children – totally turned upside down.

Andrea used this experience as a catalyst to act. She joined with other families to start an organization to ensure that fewer families would have to fight alone, and that organization is now partnering with CWS through a region-wide platform supporting families of men and women in jail.

Listen to Andrea’s story; take a moment to enter the gray with her.


CWS works so that the voices of children and families of the incarcerated can be heard. It’s a big task: there are roughly two million children of incarcerated men and women in Latin America and the Caribbean region. Their stories are only recently being heard. By bringing attention to this issue, we are learning about the unique hardships and injustices these children and their caregivers (mostly women) face – and we are moving to address them.

We do this by supporting organizations like Andrea’s. Through a regional platform called NNAPES, CWS leads a coalition of agencies focused on raising awareness about the impact of incarceration on families – especially on children. Together, we move governments and civil society’s to act on behalf of these vulnerable groups.

Learn more about this work