With 2.3 million people in prison, the United States has the largest prison population in the world. An estimated 2.7 million American children have a parent in prison and the toll on families is immense. More than 80,000 people are currently incarcerated in New York State alone. After sentencing, prisoners are assigned to faraway places and children often lose a parent whose physical presence is essential for their emotional wellbeing. Ties are broken, and the effects on the most vulnerable population are immeasurable.
Every Friday and Saturday night hundreds of New Yorkers, mostly women, many with children, get on private buses and mini vans to drive all night in order to see their husbands, brothers, mothers, fathers, friends. This journey sets out from the bustling hubs of New York, yet it is invisible to most outsiders. The overnight bus ride to the different prisons hundreds of miles north of the city is a long one, often marked by anxiety, sadness, and exhaustion.