FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity met in Frankfort for the fourth time this year to discuss criminal and juvenile justice. 

What You Need To Know

  • The commission on race and access to opportunity is hearing from Kentucky’s pioneers for change and more

  • Dale Robinson and Amy Snow are two of Frankfort’s shining youth and reform sponsors

  • The Wanda Joyce Robinson founders are highlighting ways to support Kentucky’s youth whose parents are incarcerated 

Wanda Joyce Robinson foundation founders Dale Robinson and Amy Snow are meeting with Kentucky’s leaders. 

As a formerly incarcerated person, Robinson is hoping to bring attention to what young people in Kentucky experience when a parent or guardian is in jail or prison. 

Amy Snow and Dale Robinson smile at Kentucky's state capitol Annex building on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

He said he was glad his boys could have a positive structure while he was away. 

“Without the right mentor in the right support system around them, there was no telling how if they end up like down the same road as me,” he said. “But with those people in their corner, [he] turned out to be a great citizen.” 

Robinson is hoping lawmakers will pass legislation similar to Oregon’s “incarcerated-parents-bill” that provides resources and services that help legally protect the welfare and communication between families, including ensured visitations.

The Wanda Joyce Robinson foundation started in 2018 with the goal of “healing justice” for a community’s youth. 

Operating with no full-time staff, the foundation is powered by volunteers ranging from attorneys to mental health providers. Robinson says they work to help change the potential outcomes of central Kentucky and beyond’s future. 

“Whatever they need, we are there for them because there’s so much going to a kid who has parents incarcerated. A lot of people don’t understand not having that other parent there, and today we are here is to get these kids these rights,” Robinson added.

Franklin county public schools drop-out prevention coordinator Amy Snow has worked in the Kentucky school systems for over 15 years. She says that Kentucky’s incarceration rates show the need for support on the matter. 

“Kentucky’s incarceration rate is more than double the national average, so we know statewide that there’s 12% of our children who have an incarcerated parent,” Snow said. “So we must advocate for them that… they have the right to see, hear and touch their parent.” 

Along with Robinson and snow, the commission heard from the Lincoln Trail Area Development District about expungement barriers for felons wanting to join the workforce. 

In 2021, the commission was formed with a mission to study and improve inequities and disparities in various areas. The commission will meet again in October to discuss health outcomes for children.