Senators Reverend Warnock, Wyden Reintroduce Legislation to Promote Healthy Families, Provide Alternatives to Incarceration for Parents and Caregivers 

The legislation would create an alternative to incarceration for eligible parents and caregivers, helping keep kids out of foster care 

As a pastor and a Senator, Senator Reverend Warnock has long worked to combat mass incarceration and provide assistance to returning citizens

Senator Reverend Warnock: “As a pastor who has counseled families managing the impact of an incarcerated parent, I understand deeply the impact of keeping children with their parents or caregivers, and giving family members the tools, they need to live happy and healthy lives”

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) reintroduced legislation, the Finding Alternatives to Mass Incarceration: Lives Improved by Ending Separation (FAMILIES) Act, that would help keep kids out of foster care and promote healthy families by creating an alternative to incarceration for eligible parents and caregivers.

“As a pastor and a parent, I’ve long worked to address America’s mass incarceration problem and understand deeply the critical role parents and caregivers play in children’s lives. Over two million of our neighbors and community members are incarcerated, sometimes leaving children to the hands of the foster care system, and distressingly, the burden of mass incarceration does not fall evenly across Georgia communities,” said Senator Warnock. That’s why I am proud to reintroduce this legislation that will give judges another tool to help keep Georgia’s families together and strong, and I’m going to keep working with Senator Wyden and our colleagues in both chambers to get this legislation over the finish line.”

Modeled after multiple successful statewide programs in Oregon and Washington state that have already kept hundreds of families together and have been vital to reducing recidivism, the Finding Alternatives to Mass Incarceration: Lives Improved by Ending Separation (FAMILIES) Act would:

  • Establish a diversion program that includes education and employment services, parenting skills, mental health and substance abuse services. It also addresses basic needs of the individual and their family by connecting them with health care, housing assistance, and other potential public benefits.
  • Allow federal judges to divert parents and caregivers from incarceration into this comprehensive program that would better serve them, their families, and society.
  • Offer resources, services and training to meet their unique needs.

Senator Warnock has dedicated decades of advocacy towards ending mass incarceration and has worked in the Senate and as a pastor to support returning citizens through strengthening access to vital nutrition assistance and coordinating resources to help them expunge their records. As a member of the U.S. Senate Banking committee, Senator Warnock was the lone Democratic “NO” vote against the SAFER Banking Act, citing the legislation’s lack of support for communities devastated by the War on Drugs, and has been a vocal champion in the Senate for legislation that will help impacted people and communities that the War on Drugs left behind. Senator Warnock has also sponsored the RESTORE Act, which would restore access to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for formerly incarcerated individuals.

Text of the bill can be found HERE.