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

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.