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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Incarcerated PCF dads bridge separation from children with books

Saturday, February 25, 2012

An inmate at the Putnamville Correctional Facility is videotaped as he takes part in the "Read with Me" program. The tape will be sent home to the children of offenders who complete the program.
PUTNAMVILLE -- Offenders at the Putnamville Correctional Facility (PCF) have the unique opportunity to bridge the separation from their children with words and books through the "Read with Me Program."

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."

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