Miss America Lauren Kaeppeler, lawmakers look to ease hurt for children of jailed parents

Miss America 2012 Lauren Kaeppeler’s father served a year in jail for mail fraud when she was 17.

The glitz of pageantry and the grit of prisons represent two separate worlds that are seemingly irreconcilable. But this year’s Miss America, Lauren Kaeppeler of Kenosha, Wisc., was in Philadelphia on Thursday to unite the two.

Kaeppeler appeared at City Hall with the Pennsylvania Prison Society to help present a report, “The Effects of Parental Incarceration on Children.” Her own father served 12 months in a federal penitentiary for mail fraud when she was 17, and she competed on the platform of helping children with incarcerated parents.

“No matter the crime, no matter the reason your parents are in prison, children feel the same,” she said, recounting how embarrassed and isolated she and her sisters, aged 11 and 14 at the time, felt.

She said that having to drive eight hours to see her father and facing barbed wire gates, invasive searches and inmate letters and phone calls cast a constant shadow of shame. “I felt like there was a limitation on my life, a gray cloud over my name in my community and a gray cloud over the possibilities for my future.”

The report, generated by a joint state government committee, makes concrete recommendations to help remedy some of those emotions for children in the 100,000 households with incarcerated parents in Pennsylvania. The state’s prison population has increased 535 percent over the past 30 years.

State Rep. Cherelle Parker and Sen. Stewart Greenleaf joined Mayor Michael Nutter and members of Philadelphia’s City Council to announce that many of the suggestions would be written into policy.

“We have to find a way to make it work,” Parker said. “All branches of government are going to have to work hard on this issue.”

Suggestions

The report focuses on making it easier to keep children connected with their imprisoned parents, through several methods:
   
Assisting with transportation to help diminish the cost    and difficulty posed by distance.
   
Making child-friendly prison visiting areas and allowing alternative communication like video chat and e-mail.
   
Forming and urging participation in support groups.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Dr. Dre is king of hip hop with…

With $620 million in estimated pre-tax earnings, veteran rapper and record producer Dr. Dre topped Forbes list as the highest paid hip hop artist, ousting Sean "Diddy" Combs from the…

News

Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in U.S.…

A seemingly unrepentant Suleiman Abu Ghaith, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday in New York following his conviction on terrorism charges.

Local

Inside the UN Climate Summit

First Avenue was a sea of blue suits, black Suburbans and countless officers from multiple security agencies Tuesday as the United Nations representatives met to…

National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

Television

Craig Ferguson wants you to see his new…

Craig Ferguson thinks his new game show will become "a comedy show in which a game is played and money is won."

Television

Anthony Anderson on dealing with your 'ish'

Anthony Anderson discusses finding the humor in his "Black-ish" family.

Gossip

Photos: See who Robert Pattinson was caught holding…

Robert Pattinson has a new girlfriend.

The Word

The Word: Kris and Bruce Jenner's predictably public…

They said it wouldn't last — mostly because of that separation almost a year ago. And now, more than a year later, Kris and Bruce…

Sports

Here's the 8 best and worst sporting goodbyes

With Derek Jeter set to retire following the 2014 Major League Baseball season, we look back at some of the great and not-so-great sporting goodbyes.

NFL

NFL Week 4 schedule (TV, kickoff, start time)

NFL Week 4 schedule (TV, kickoff, start time)

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks at top, Bears and…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks at top, Bears and Steelers rise

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

Home

NYC fall real estate hot list

The upcoming developments and areas everyone's buzzing about.

Style

Milan Fashion Week shows the best of Italian…

Metro rounds up the cut of the collections at Milan Fashion Week.

Tech

The 2014 Maker Faire saw robots, printers and…

Got a broken button maker? There’s a fix for that – and Tony Stanzione of the Fixers’ Collective says he can show you how.

Parenting

First look: Uniqlo's fall/winter 2014 kids collection

Get a sneak peek at Uniqlo's kids and babies fall/winter 2014 line.