Idalmin Santana hugs a friend
Idalmin Santana

Idalmin Santana, USA, represented children of prisoners and children in foster care on the jury until she turned 18 – now, she is a patron of the WCP.

Idalmin was nine when her mother and father were arrested by the police.
   “What are you doing?' she asked the police, crying.
   “You’re too young to understand,' said a police officer.
   “Where are you taking my mom?' Idalmin asked. “I love my mom'.

At first, Idalmin and her sisters moved in with their grandmother. Every day she asked her grandmother, “When are my parents coming home?'

Her grandmother just kept saying, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow.'
   “It was as though my parents had died,' says Idalmin. “The first time I visited mom in prison, visiting time finished after one hour. Just imagine - you haven’t seen your mom for ages, and then you only get one hour! I cried every morning for that first year.'

First, Idalmin and her sisters had to stay with different relatives and friends. It was a very difficult time. Idalmin became ill and began to skip school. Things improved when she and her sisters ended up in the same foster family, and got help through a program for children of incarcerated parents. 

In 2005, after many years in prison, Idalmin’s mother was released and could be reunited with her daughter.