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Voice of a Parent Program

They aren’t just inmates, but they’re also parents, moms, dads and family members, and the jail recently came up with a new way to connect them with their children at home. Hi, guys. We’re going to read. It’s a favorite.

This is Trista . She’s an inmate at the Bedford County Correctional Facility. But more importantly, she’s a mom to three children. This week, she read a bedtime story to her kids that they’ll get to watch at home. I want her to know that I’m still here, even though I’m not actually there.

“And it makes me feel like I’m reading a book to her every night like we used to do.”  It’s part of the jail’s new voice of a parent program to keep children connected with their parents during the pandemic and build relationships from a distance.

So we started this program where the parents get to read their children a bedtime story. We recorded on DVD. We send the child the book along with the DVD and a note home for mom from mom or dad, along with some information from the prison society for the caregivers on how to answer difficult questions that the children might pose.

And it’s been a wonderful success so far. All of the video equipment painting supplies for this mural and the books were funded by grants and donations. And so far, almost 20 inmates have done the program impacting almost 30 children at home.

Lucille Kettner is the treatment specialist at the jail. And she says just because a person is incarcerated doesn’t mean they aren’t still part of a family. Just because the parents come in here and they’re given the name inmate doesn’t mean that they lose the title of mommy or daddy.

“So we want the kids to know that they weren’t left behind. Mommy and daddy still love them. They’re still thought of and they’re still important because we want to stop the cycle of that intergenerational incarceration. ” She also says the program aims to build literacy skills, especially when the boys reading the story comes from the voice of a parent. They miss the most.

“That way, it’s just like it was whenever I was there reading it to her. I’m there in spirit. Bye, guys. I love you and I miss you so much.” Officials here tell me they’ve already received so many books from generous people out there at home.

But if you would like to help out, you can mail your donations to the jail along Imlertown Road in Bedford.

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