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Daughters Beyond Incarceration champion support for youth impacted by parental incarceration


“The hardest thing about not having my dad around is that this is the time I should be taught things only a father can teach,” 16-year-old Naiya Jones says.

Her father has been incarcerated for most of her life, missing many major milestones. Next spring, Jones will graduate from Livingston Collegiate Academy in New Orleans in 2025 and she’s hopeful he will be able to attend.

Daughters Beyond Incarceration program participant Naiya Jones

Jones participates in a program called Daughters Beyond Incarceration (DBI), a Louisiana nonprofit championing support for youth impacted by parental incarceration.

DBI believes that young people hold the answers to the future of community safety and wellbeing. Much of DBI’s programming focuses on mentorship and support for girls among the 94,000 children in Louisiana who are affected by parental incarceration.

“About 1 in 7 kids in Louisiana experience parental incarceration, nearly four times the national average,” explains Dominque Johnson, DBI founder. “DBI believes those closest to the problem can be the solution. Since May 2018, we’ve mentored more than 70 girls impacted by parental incarceration in New Orleans by turning pain into purpose through organizational programming and policy initiatives.”

Last year, DBI was instrumental in getting a new law passed in Louisiana that would allow incarcerated parents to virtually attend their child’s graduation. This year at the urging of DBI policy fellows, lawmakers passed an amendment to that bill that directs the Department of Public Safety and Corrections to also permit incarcerated parents to virtually attend other educational events like award ceremonies and parent-teacher conferences involving their children.

The passage of this legislation means more than 94,000 children in the state of Louisiana like Jones would be able to experience the benefits of parental involvement.

To keep the momentum going, DBI recently hosted a Day at the state capitol during Youth Violence Prevention Week to amplify the voices of Louisiana’s youth amidst rising incarceration rates and instances of violence.

The 2nd Annual Youth Day at the Capitol offered participants an immersive experience that allowed young advocates to network, learn about the legislative process and register to vote.

Student speakers from 11 New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, Louisiana, high schools spoke on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol to compel elected officials to consider bills that impact young people including HCR 22 and HCR 24.

During the week-long initiative, the organization also hosted events to address issues like gender-based violence and gun violence within the state. DBI invited adults, community members and legislative leaders to hear innovative ideas and authentic perspectives from youth advocates.

“When incarcerated parents maintain a relationship with their children, the incarcerated parent’s behavior improves, and the children’s behavior improves, both in school and in the community,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s own father is in his 42nd year of a life sentence. She started Daughters Beyond Incarceration in 2018 because she noticed a gap between incarcerated parents and the development of children while the parent serves out the sentence.

Through DBI’s mentorship and programming, Johnson aims to ensure young people like Jones do not feel alone in the isolating emotional experience of having a parent who is incarcerated.

For more information on DBI and how to support their work, visit