Although evidence supports that maintaining positive family relationships provide offenders with a basis to resist re-offending, many children are not afforded the opportunity to visit with their dads.
Citing financial constraints, unresolved family issues or the perceived negative exposure of the prison environment, children are often faced with a void that was once filled by their fathers. In an attempt to minimize the anxiety of separation caused by incarceration, the Putnamville facility has implemented a "Read with Me Program."
Read with Me allows Inside Out Dad graduates to be videotaped and recorded reading books to their children. Each graduate is permitted one audio/visual reading, age appropriate, for each of his children. Once the tapes have been completed they are mailed home to the kids.
"You wouldn't believe how animated they get when they're 'reading,'" Program Coordinator James Bennett said.
"All of a sudden these big, burly, no-nonsense guys are making animal sounds and talking in exaggerated caricature voices. It's really great to see!"
Supt. Stanley Knight said the PCF staff and administration are cognizant of the effects incarceration has on children.
"Particularly children who, due to no fault of their own, have been separated from their fathers," Knight added. "Our intent is that programs of this nature will help to lessen their anxiety, strengthen the father-child relationship, and anchor the offender to society and the choices that will prevent his return to incarceration."