December 15, 2015
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Published: December 22, 2015
By: Ari Odzer
To view the article online, visit: http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Kids-Visit-Inmate-Dads-at-Everglades-Correctional-Institution-363308841.html.
Thanks to a group called Children of Inmates, 44 men incarcerated at the Everglades Correctional Institution get to spend a day with their families for the holidays.
“It actually lifts my spirits up, it actually makes me feel like a human being again, the way that they treat us here,” said inmate Chris Montoya, who visited with his son, CJ. “It’s actually a blessing.”
“The reunification process that takes place between the children and the fathers is just amazing, there’s no way to describe it, you just have to see it, the looks on the children’s faces,” assistant warden Ann Casey said.
It's more than just a feel-good, morale-boosting exercise. Prison officials said the family reunifications pay real dividends down the road.
“It's not just about the inmates themselves, it is also about those children,” Casey said. “We want to do anything we can to strengthen the bond between the father and the child.”
All the men are being released soon, and events like this prepare them to re-enter society.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs more than 23,000 members statewide, incarcerates more than 100,000 inmates and supervises nearly 140,000 offenders in the community.