Organizational Description and Background
Hour Children is a non-sectarian, not-for-profit agency located in Long Island City (Queens County) that has been solely focused, throughout our 25-year history, on providing practical, comprehensive services to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their families. Founded in 1986 and incorporated in 1992, Hour Children has evolved from its modest beginnings as a program that provided care to children of women incarcerated at Bedford Hills and Taconic Correctional Facilities, to a leading provider of prison- and community-based programs that support these fragile women and their families as they work to transform their lives and achieve self-sufficiency.
Community-based programs include: transitional and permanent supportive housing; a comprehensive employment training and placement program; case management and therapeutic services; pre- and post-release adult mentoring; mentoring for children with incarcerated parents; child care that includes a fully-licensed daycare center and an after-school program that free women so that they can go to work or school, three thrift shops; and a community food pantry. In-prison programming (varies by locale) include: transportation and visitation services; parenting education; mental health support for women, children and families; a Teen Program; advocacy; and a residential Nursery unit.
Hour Children’s recidivism rate is 3.5%, significantly lower than the 39.9% published by NYS.
Who We Serve
The majority of Hour women are women with children under 18. 84% had been incarcerated for nonviolent offenses, and 60% for drug-related offenses, with many drug sentences related to mandatory sentencing rules. They are overwhelmingly people of color: 57% are African American, 27 % Latina, and 16% Caucasian. Only 40% had ever been employed – in any capacity – prior to their arrests and almost 65% had poverty level incomes. Of those who have held a job, 2/3 reported never receiving more than the minimum wage.
Nearly 55% lack a high school diploma and just fewer than 37% read at a seventh grade level (or lower). Hour participants are typically chronically unemployed and most often relied on public assistance.
Want to see what we do?
Click here for a short video about Hour Children and Sister Tesa. (Special thanks to the Opus Prize Foundation for creating this video.)