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Posted: June 18, 2013

Sesame Street unveils muppet with parent in jail

Desiree Navarro
File photo: President of the Jim Henson Foundation, Cheryl Henson attends the 11th annual Sesame Street Workshop Benefit Gala on May 29, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)

By Russell Mills

The long-running children's televisi0n show "Sesame Street" has introduce a character with a problem all too many Oklahoma children share -- he has a parent in jail.

The muppet, named "Alex," deals with feelings of sadness, anger, and abandonment as he shares his predicament with other human and muppet characters.

Oklahoma, as of the latest data available, leads the nation in the incarceration of females per capita, and ranks fourth for male incarceration per capita.

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy estimates that on any given day, more than 26,000 children in the state have parents behind bars.

Nationally, it's estimated that 1 in 28 children has an incarcerated parent -- a higher ratio than children with parents deployed in the military.

The United States also reportedly has the highest rate of incarceration in the world.

Alex tells his friends "I just miss him so much. I usually don’t want people to know about my Dad."

The show doesn't plan to make Alex a regular character on the show, but he's featured prominently in the website section called "Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration."

It's designed to help children ages 3-8 deal with the feelings raised by having a parent behind bars.

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