P is for Prison: Sesame Street and Overpopulation in America's Jails

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One in twenty-eight children in America has a parent behind bars. And now, for the first time, a muppet does too. Last week, the beloved children's program Sesame Street announced a new initiative entitled "Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration". It's an online tool-kit complete with original Sesame Street clips, starring a new muppet named Alex, whose father is currently in prison. Alex has to explain to his friends why his dad isn't around to play with the other muppets and their fathers. The tool-kit also features tips for parents and caregivers to help their children cope with the transition.

Mike Riggs, an associate editor at Reason magazine, blogged about the topic last week, writing "Congratulations, America, on making it almost normal to have a parent in prison or jail." Riggs is concerned with the problem of overpopulation in jails and prisons. He thinks the Sesame Street program is helpful for families, but wishes we had addressed this problem as a country sooner, so a tool-kit like the one Sesame Street introduced wouldn't have been necessary.