Saturday, US News reported on a Mississippi prison which implemented a program called Day with Dad. It helps kids reconnect with their dads in prison.

When Bo Easley saw his father, he was just three years old. That was back in 2012. Since then Dad’s been an inmate at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility. Bo, now an 8-year-old, lives in Arkansas with his mother and his twin.

Some Kids Traveled for Hours to Spend a Day with Dad in Prison

Recently, reports US News, the three of them took a 6-hour trip for a long-needed prison trip. The Meridian, MS prison facility was sponsoring an event called Day with Dad. And, Bo was really excited.

This was a first-time event for East Mississippi Correctional Facility. It gave Bo, his twin and other prison kids the chance to bond with their incarcerated fathers. They all enjoyed a day filled with games and food.

Markshia Wells is the facility manager at the Mississippi state prison. Wells spearheaded the Day with Dad program, and says:

“Some of the parents haven’t seen their kids in a while.

I have one guy that hasn’t seen his kids in six years. They traveled all the way from Arkansas to see him. So, it was a bonding experience because some of the guys haven’t bonded with their child since they were incarcerated. It’s all about building back up that relationship between the parent and the child.”

Kids of Men Prisoners Enjoy Fun & Games at Day with Dad Event

For the first time in years, young Bo got to enjoy a simple, fun-filled day with his dad in prison. He shyly shared his time playing “worms” using Play-Doh, and covering his dad’s forehead with painted smiley faces, saying:

“He wanted it!”

Two young brothers, Elijah and Meciah Morgan, made their prison trip from Tupelo for their Day with Dad adventure. Unlike Bo, they do get to visit dad in prison often. However, they still look forward to the frequent calls they get from dad.

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He talks to his sons about the schooling and baseball games. They talk as often as they can.

Until then, they both live with Carrie Thompson-Buse, their maternal grandmother. Their father goes up for parole in 2018, for the first time since he was sentenced to the penitentiary. The boys’ grandmother says:

“’It’s important to me because I know how important their relationship is with their father.

He’s been in prison for six years and is coming up for parole next year. For a long time they didn’t even know that this was a prison… they thought he just worked here — in this big building with wire stuck around it. They just didn’t understand until a couple years ago when I felt like they were old enough to know.”

About the Mississippi Prison’s Day with Dad Program

The East Mississippi prison’s Day with Dad program is for prison kids… from 3-year-olds to teens. Wells saw other institutions successfully implement programs that reconnect dads in prisons with their children on the outside.

That’s when Wells decided East Mississippi Correctional Facility could greatly benefit from the same type of program. Plus, it’s doing wonders for the men’s kids.

In order to qualify for the Day with Dad program, the prison fathers must:

  • Be demerit-free for an entire year
  • Be involved in MTC (Management Training Corporation) programs
  • Actively demonstrate and participate in good sportsmanship
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US News reports:

“Ray Rice, the deputy warden of programs, asked that fathers only pose for photos and videos but not participate in interviews. Most dads seemed emotional, greeting their children and playing with them for the first time in years. One boy, about 11, hugged his dad and quickly hid his face on the table so no one would see him cry.”

“’This is our first time. We felt like it was needed for these guys that are in programs. MTC is all about programs and these guys have done everything they can possibly do. We wanted to reward them with the opportunity to have a little-more-than normal visitation where they can play games and get to know their children a lot better,’” Rice said.

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Prison Transportation for a Day with Dad

Even if their dads are in prison, every child needs a Day with Dad in order to cope with life and feel “normal.” But, not every facility has such programs. So, it’s up to us, prison loved ones, to make sure kids get to visit dads in prisons.

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Kiesha Joseph is the owner of Content Marketing Geek Corporation. Her company provides white hat, inbound marketing services for small businesses, entrepreneurs, real estate professionals, bloggers and authors. Ms. Joseph enjoys swimming, cooking, eating, dancing, and of course writing. Kiesha is currently the managing content editor for Prison Rideshare Network news for inmates' loved ones.