Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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March 22, 2013

Tending to the families of prisoners

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NIAGARA FALLS — Tears stream down 11-year-old Shamel Green’s cheeks as he speaks of his father’s absence over the past six years. 

“I feel bad when I hear other kids talking about how their dads spend time with them and how they do fun things together,” he said. “I know if my dad was here he’d do those things with me too, but he’s not.”

Shamel, along with his six siblings, is dealing with the reality of his father’s imprisonment since 2007. His father is currently serving a life sentence at Auburn Correctional Facility for a felony conviction due to his involvement in a New York City shooting.

The Green children’s fondest memories of playing basketball and working on homework with their father after school have turned into a rarity to occur only when the family is able to travel to visit him a few times a year at the prison.

Shamel’s mother, Sharae Green who was working as a school teacher in NYC uprooted her family and relocated to Western New York where they had family and were able to be closer to her husband. She speaks of the immense impact it has had on her family since day one.

“My children are trying to cope with their father’s imprisonment the best they can, but it’s very hard on them. There are feelings of sadness, anger, disappointment,” she said. “They had a really good relationship with him and they still love him very much but they’re very hurt he’s not here. 

“When this first happened I didn’t know what to do or where to go. We all needed somebody to talk to, some way to cope to get through this thing that we never imagined could happen.” 

The Green children are not alone.

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