Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Inmates reading to kids long distance

I noticed a story the other day from another state about inmates recording books for their children and grandchildren. Reported AP:
A new program at the Dodge County Jail gives inmates who are parents a chance to stay connected with their children.

Much like a recordable greeting card, the inmates can purchase a recordable book, read it to their children, then ship it off to them. Jail programs director Aaron Ellis came up with the idea. Ellis says the inmates are incarcerated because of something they've done wrong, not their children. So, it's important they stay connected.

Inmate Dan Wiard recorded a book for his 13-month-old daughter. Wiard says that when his daughter visits the jail, his voice is known to her and she recognizes him.

Ellis tells the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen that feedback has been positive and that inmates are already asking about books for the holiday season.
It turns out there's a similar program at some Texas women's units. A young child I know whose grandmother is in a Texas prison recently received such a book, in which the grandmother's voice reads the words as the kid turns the pages. I thought that was a cool idea.

For more detail check out the Women's Storybook Project. Go here to see at which TX units the program is offered.

14 comments:

sunray's wench said...

We've had the same thing here for a number of years, Storybook Dads was first and now there is Storybook Mums too:

http://www.prisonerseducation.org.uk/index.php?id=321

It is interesting that the initiative you mention here is for jail inmates, who typically are only there for a short time compared to TDCJ inmates who are there for more than 2 years. Does TDCJ also have this kind of scheme? I think not.

china said...

This should be available in each and every unit.
The fact that it took TX till this year (was it this year or the end of last?) to allow inmates collect phone calls is ridiculous. And at a very high rate considering it is the family that pays since TX does not pay any wages as they do in other States. That's a fight for another day.
Communication is important for the inmates as well as society. If a man/woman have support to come home to, they are more likely to make it on the outside. And that bond between a younger child is important and should be nourished. This book program is an excellent way to do that with younger children. I notice just a very few on the link list ... sad. But, of those listed, some provide a variety of interesting programs, albeit most, just for women. It's a start ...

Anonymous said...

The Texas Inmate Families Association (tifa.org) sponsors a Storybook Project, as well.

Anonymous said...

They do it at the Vance Unit as well although it's a little more sophisticated there. An awesome program!

Anonymous said...

We have been doing "Storybook" in the Huntsville (Walls) Unit for five or more years. It was done at the Eastham Unit until a staff change terminated the program and it has been done once at Goree. Keeping dad's connected to their children is great for the kids removing some of their hurt and aloneness and it reduces the likelihood of recidivism for those inmates. It needs to expand. It is easy to do and low cost.
Ed Episcopal Diocese of Texas

CRAIN WATCHER said...

So staff changes terminated this program at a unit within TDCJ. Sounds more like me some sour puss Warden stopped it. I do know for a fact nothing positive like this will ever happen on the Crain unit with the current clowns who are in charge. Do not be fool they only did the Patriot Paw program so one of the ex-asst wardens could become a warden. They did not care one bit about helping a wounded soldier because if they did they would have modified visitation hours just a little bit to accomendate a soldier home on leave and passing though. If the Warden or Asst Warden can not look good than forget it. These people do know how to kick people out of college classes and stop parole though.

sunray's wench said...

You would think that something as successful as this would be promoted as "look at us, aren't we great" by TDCJ. I'm really glad to learn that there are some units that do the storytapes, but it should be state-wide.

Sheldon tyc#47333 said...

Thanks Grits, it’s nice to hear about acts of human decency coming out of a state agency that prides itself on the practice of human indecency. Even on a small scale or due to the self serving interest of the farms leadership it’s still good to hear.

Crain Watcher, keep watching. That is most likely the most morally depraved unit in all of TDCJ. This is related to the history of the town, who has kept its existence alive on the blood of children till 1979. When told they acted unconstitutional the state moved out the children and moved in the Lady’s. Going back over 120 years you have 7th and 8th generation of inbreed spiritually cursed people for the sins committed against orphans and widows in that podunk hick town of Gatesville. If it weren’t for the unmarked graves of the “Little Boys” around that place it would have been bull dozed 30 years ago.

Crain Watcher said...

Thank you Sheldon!!!The town is actually called "GAYSVILLE" now.

Crain Watcher said...

There is a correctional officer board called Texas Justice Dot Org where some of the correctional officers are complaining and talking of lawsuits from the sexual harassment they receive from the gay officers down there too. They refer to the place as GAYSVILLE!!!! That town of Gatesville is like Sodom and Gomorra. This town and the people are pure evil. Even the Wardens on those Units will do nothing but Plane State is the worst of the worst and this is where at intake if a citizen did to a woman what these guards do they would be in prison for sexual assault.

Susan Fenner said...

We have had the TIFA Storybook Project here in Austin (Travis State Jail) for years. We also have one in Dallas which is run by one of our TIFA chapter chairs. We are asked on a regular basis to start Storybook at other units. We would love to, but we have no funding. It would require a local church or other organization to maintain SB at a TDCJ unit. Materials to be considered are childrens' books, mailers, tapes and tape recorders, & postage. Volunteers are needed to go to the unit and help the inmates choose appropriate books for their children. We will gladly talk with anyone who is interested in starting SB.

Crain Watcher said...

I doubt this would happen on any of the units that houses women in TDCJ. The people running these programs would be harassed so and run off before it even begain and then the guards would do everything to prevent it for turn outs or they would use the opportunity to write more case to prevent parole.

Anonymous said...

If I were you guys I would keep this program a secret. Once Madden or Whitmire hear about it they will step in to save the day and screw it up so bad you will eventually ban books.

These two have almost single handedly destroyed juvenile justice in Texas!

Crain Watcher said...

AMEN!!! Now that is a good one. The Crain Unit bans History Books because of a naked native. You wonder why no one in Texas today knows real history and no one can possible leave TDCJ any smarter unless you count criminal activity that is learned thanks to the good ole system we have here.