Category Archives: reentry

Virginia Jail Holds Father-Daughter Dance For Inmates

 

Father and daughter dance

Father and daughter dance

http://www.theindychannel.com/news/u-s-world/jail-holds-father-daughter-dance-for-inmates

RICHMOND, Va. – All of the prisoners at Virginia’s Richmond City Jail admit they made poor choices, and could be better fathers.

“I am definitely failing as a parent right now, just by being out of her life,” Ronnell Glasgow said.
A few examples: Julian Edwards is serving four years for drug distribution, Joey Atkins is awaiting trial for illegal gun possession, and Glasgow is serving seven years for selling drugs, ABC News reported. 

Most of the men are in their 20s and 30s. Gerald Ward is awaiting trial for guns and drug charges. He told us his daughter is only four. “But it’s amazing what she understands. She understand that Daddy did something wrong, ” he says.

As these troubled men serve out their sentences, their children pay a price –  often spending the most important years of their lives without active father figures.

Regardless of the culture, there’s something special and valued about the father-daughter bond, yet when these daughters go to visit their fathers in jail, they can only speak to them through a thick glass or on the telephone.

“It is hard for her to release and talk to me behind the glass,” said Edwards.

In 2012, the father-daughter dance at the Richmond City Jail was born.

It was the brainchild of Angela Patton, who runs Camp Diva, a Richmond nonprofit aimed at empowering young girls. She had heard the concerns of a daughter who had a father in jail. The young girl wanted to attend an event where she could dance with her father too, like others girls and their fathers across the city.

Patton convinced Richmond City Sheriff C. T. Woody Jr. to host the dance inside the jail, and he agreed.

“They are not hard core criminals, they deserve a second chance,” Woody said. “And they can be very good citizens and the best way to make a good citizen is to make good fathers.”

Woody says he agreed because he feels that inmates who are allowed to dance with their daughters will be reminded why they should never return to jail once they’re released.

On Saturday, June 8, a dance was held with daughters ranging from age 4 to 16.

“I did this because I know how important family is.  Someone saved me.  I haven’t always been a law-abiding, law enforcement officer,” Woody said.

Hours before the dance, the men expected to meet their daughters are brought suits and dress shoes to their jail cells. Some of them are wearing a tie for the first time. Outside of their orange jumpsuits, they look like everyday men.

At home, 8-year-old A’maya Thomas was getting ready too. Her father, Antoine Thomas, is serving time for robbing a bank. “I get to touch him and I get to hug him and I get to kiss him,” she said.

When the big moment arrives, the young girls in brightly colored dresses are escorted down the drab and dreary halls of the jail.  When they walk past the solid steel mechanical doors, the fathers waiting on the other side start to cry. The young girls bounce across the hall and into their fathers’ arms.

The dance itself only lasts for a few hours, but in that short time, the young girls have real moments with their fathers.

When the men do time, their daughters do time, and they told us they plan to never let that happen to the girls again.

Ronnell Glasgow, here for selling drugs, promised to do better.

“I thought I needed material things to make my daughter happy, when what I needed was right in front of my face,” he said.

ABC News’ Michael Koenigs and Bradley Blackburn contributed to this report.

Life has knocked you down, but you can get up.

 

Many times in our journey life can deal us some unexpected blows. It seems that we are blindsided by the vicissitudes(love that word) of life.  It might seem that this time that you are knocked down is the last straw. But know that you can get up. You can prevail.  Don’t feel as if you have to do it alone. Reach Up,Reach Out. Let some one know that you are ready  to move forward, ready for change.

Real Success

Real Success

 

 

Life

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Returning Home -Meet Ms. Venessa Jones

Ms Venessa Jones gives an interview regarding her participation in the Empowering Choices Jail Program at the Tuscaloosa County Jail. She was an active participant. She currently participates in the Empowering Choices Alternative 2 Incarceration community program and serves as a volunteer with the organization. The ECA2I program is a 14 week enrichment program that assist ex-offender women in making a smooth transition back into the community.

Returning Home- Meet Ms. Ty’Wanda Johnson

Ms. Ty’Wanda Johnson was a participant in the Empowering Choices Jail Program at the Tuscaloosa County Jail in Tuscaloosa Al. She was an attentive student and applied the materials that she learned. She is currently participating in the Empowering Choices Alternative 2 Incarceration Community Program in Tuscaloosa . The program is a 14 week Skills enrichment program aimed to assist ex offenders in making a smooth transition back into the community.

The Beginning of the End of Halfhearted Re-Entry – Prison Path Visitor Information & Inmate Locator- Prison Path

The Beginning of the End of Halfhearted Re-Entry

Non Violent Inmates

During the last six months, Attorney General Eric Holder has announced new policies for prison reform and the reduction of our high recidivism rates. The reforms announced previously focused on the overkill of charging defendants which resulted in long  sentences for nonviolent offenders. On March 24, it was announced that the Federal Bureau of Prisons will order new requirements for the 200 plus federal halfway houses in the United States. Federal halfway houses shall provide appropriate treatment to returning citizens with  mental health and substance abuse issues. For many years, halfway houses were just halfhearted attempts at providing successful re-entry to former inmates. Returning citizens from our federal prisons were placed in halfway houses without access to health care for mental health issues and treatment for addictions. Without such treatment, it was inevitable that a substantial number of those released would become new statistics for our high recidivism rates.

Attorney General Holder stated that, “All halfway houses will have to offer standardized cognitive behavioral programs for federal inmates, and the Bureau of Prisons will set guidelines for the qualifications of instructors as well as the size and length of the classes.”

The federal halfway houses shall also provide transportation in order that former inmates can find jobs. Without transportation, returning citizens faced major obstacles in finding jobs. Many halfway houses are not near any public transportation. The studies have shown that returning citizens who are employed become productive members of society. A gourmet restaurant that employed inmates in Wales had a 12% recidivism rate compared to the national 47% recidivism rate in England.  The inmates were required to have only six- 18 months left on their sentence. The inmates also resolved any problems such as alcohol, drugs, and anger  before being allowed to work at the restaurant.

Another example of a successful state halfway house in the United States— The John R. Hay House located in Kingsport, Tennessee. The Hay House was founded in 1981 to help former inmates re-enter the community as responsible and productive citizens. The Hay House has a ninety percent success rate for its returning citizens. In the past five years, more than 1,700 individuals have entered the Hay House program. Of the 1700, 500 have earned GEDs, 899 completed alcohol and drug education and aftercare programs, and 579 completed  behavioral modification and education programs. Additionally, participants earned $1,333,457; paid $516,175 in child support, criminal injury fees, restitution, fines and court costs; and worked more than 124,000 community service hours worth an estimated $638,000.

Hay House Director, Dr. Chuck Walsh, stated that the Hay House, “Gives them a place to live, get treatment they need, medicine, get a job, pay their fines. It gives them at least a fighting chance.” Hay House costs taxpayers less than one-tenth that of imprisonment and has been recognized as a model program by the Tennessee State Department of Corrections.

The new federal policies for halfway houses are the beginning of wholehearted successful Re-Entry programs for our federal returning citizens.

ReBlogged from Prison Pathway

 

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Report Examines Private Probation Systems Funded by Probationers – CSG Justice Center

Report Examines Private Probation Systems Funded by Probationers
Thomas Barrett, destitute and living primarily off food
stamps, was arrested in 2012 for stealing a can of
beer valued at $2 and was sentenced to probation
with Sentinel Offender Services, a for-profit firm.
Despite selling his own blood plasma twice a week to
raise money, Barrett fell more than $1,000 behind in
his payments and was jailed for failure to pay.
© 2014 Jason Blalock for Human Rights Watch

 

Over a thousand courts in several states allow private companies to oversee probation, often with little government oversight or regulation. This report from Human Rights Watch, titled: Profiting from Probation: America’s “Offender-Funded” Probation Industry, describes these privatized probation systems, which are funded primarily through fines paid by offenders, and documents cases in which probationers were jailed when they did not pay such fines. To view the report, click here.

Source

DATE: 2/24/13

PUBLISHER: Human Rights Watch

LOCATION: New York, NY

URL: http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/us0214_ForUpload_0.pdf