This week the House of Representatives gave first round approval to a bill that would help Missouri children visit their parents in prison.
Sponsored by Representative Penny Hubbard (D-St. Louis), HB 443 would establish a pilot program to provide transportation to children whose parents are incarcerated more than 50 miles from their homes.
The pilot program would include two men’s prisons and two women’s prisons. By 2017 the Department of Corrections would have to provide a report on the program to the general assembly.
In a floor letter urging support for HB 443, the MCC reminded lawmakers that the U.S. bishops have stressed the importance of family contact with inmates. In their 2000 statement on criminal justice, the bishops stated that “regular inmate contact with family and friends reduces the likelihood that upon release they will return to a life of crime.”
The bill needs one more vote of approval from the House before it moves to the Senate.