It’s probably not the sort of demographic most of us think of when we imagine mother’s day and the millions of moms all over this country, but the fact is that 2.7 million children in America have at least one parent in prison. As a result, there are a great deal of children who cannot see their mothers today to wish them a Happy Mother’s Day. They can’t make a messy macaroni art for their moms or bring a sloppily-made plate of breakfast.

We know that incarceration rates in America are grossly excessive, with millions of lives ruined over non-violent crimes and zero tolerance policies. Though the policies were put in place by both Republicans and Democrats decades ago, the excessive and restrictive rules still stand.

Until we make comprehensive prison reform, decide which crimes are truly worthy of punishment, and until our prison systems truly seek to rehabilitate rather than habituate, millions of children are suffering. These children are being traumatized by the absence of their mother or father and are much more likely to get caught up in the cycle themselves.

So for this mother’s day, give your mom a call if you have her, say thank you to the female role models in your life, and then think of these children.


Richard Eskow is host and managing editor of The Zero Hour, a weekly radio program produced by We Act Radio. He was the senior writer and editor for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Richard has written for a number of print and online publications, was a founding contributor to the Huffington Post, and is a longtime activist. He is also a Senior Fellow with the Campaign for America’s Future.