Bars

‘It’s Really Hard To Parent From Behind Bars’

Brittany Jefferson says one of the hardest things about being incarcerated is not being around to help her children with their education. She tells them: “You only get one education, so you really need to be focusing hard if you want to do something successful in life.” (Photo: Illustration: Damon Dahlen/HuffPost; Photos: Christine Zuniga/Getty Images)
Brittany Jefferson says one of the hardest things about being incarcerated is not being around to help her children with their education. She tells them: “You only get one education, so you really need to be focusing hard if you want to do something successful in life.” (Photo: Illustration: Damon Dahlen/HuffPost; Photos: Christine Zuniga/Getty Images)

This story about children of incarcerated parents was produced as part of the series Critical Condition: The Students the Pandemic Hit Hardest, reported by HuffPost and The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.

This winter, before the pandemic changed everything, Brittany Jefferson spent weekdays at a call center, putting in hours through a work release program as she neared the end of a four-year stint in prison. About once a week, after Brittany finished work, Christine Zuniga, her kids’ grandmother, would be waiting outside with

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