At sunrise on a cold Saturday, while most families were still enjoying their extra time to snooze, Nekia Pressley and her children gathered in her Dodge minivan for their regular trip to Graterford prison. Pressley, 38, lives with three of her children in the Hunting Park section of the city – Yani, 17; Dimeen, 13; and Darwish, 10.
Nearly 3 million children in the U.S. have a parent in jail or prison. Local author Becky Birtha is hoping her new children’s book, “Far Apart, Close in Heart,” will help those kids express how they’re feeling – and teach their friends and classmates what it’s like to have a parent behind bars.
By her estimate, Stacey Wilson has spent more than a week of her life traveling to and from prisons to visit her son Derron, who is serving 7-and-a-half to 15 years for attempted murder. He formerly was imprisoned at Graterford and Camp Hill, and she visited as often as twice a week.