Sylvia A. Harvey

Sylvia A. Harvey (2017) is an independent journalist and reporting fellow at the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund. Her focus is on the 2.7 million Children of Incarcerated Parents, COIP, a demographic rendered invisible by our criminal justice system and public policy. Harvey’s award-winning cover story for The Nation, “What About Us?,” reported on a disturbing pattern. Across the nation, state prison systems are gutting family visitation programs — programs that allow children to have extended quality time with their incarcerated parents. The shifts, she found, were due partly to budget pressures, partly to a punitive culture and partly due to racist ideas about black sexuality. But in none of these debates did policy makers consider the impact of eliminating these overnight visits to the 2.7 million children in this country who have an incarcerated parent.

The Oakland native will come to Carey to write a long form investigative narrative piece, which focuses on caregivers of COIP. Harvey will argue that the refusal to take care of Children of Incarcerated Parents contributes to the fraying fabric of our society and is a perpetuation and iteration of New Jim Crow racism. Her written work has appeared in The Nation, Yes! Magazine, ELLE, Colorlines, the Feminist Wire, Narratively, the New York Post and AOL’s Bedford-Stuyvesant Patch, where she served as the gentrification columnist. Harvey’s commentary on race and the criminal justice system has been featured on WNYC, NPR, WBAI, HuffPost Live, and beyond.  She holds a Bachelors of Arts in sociology from Columbia University and a Master of Science in journalism from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.