In Montgomery, Alabama, one group is helping incarcerated mothers. It’s called Aid to Inmate Mothers, or AIM, and it has many programs that are helping women who are in the prison system to grow personally and become stronger mothers to their children while they are in jail. This is AIM’s 30th anniverFederal Detention Center in Philadelphiasary.
AIM works to reunite mothers and children that have been separated by prison. It has nine programs that help mothers that are incarcerated, as well as their children. AIM says that its goal is to help enrich both the lives of the families of incarcerated mothers, as well as the mothers, through education and support.
The executive director of the group, Carol Potok, says that she likes to remind people that it’s the children who are really the victims in these situations. They often aren’t seen much of the time, and when their mothers are sent to prison, it can really create an issue in the life of the child. The kids haven’t done anything wrong.
Originally, AIM was founded on a Monthly Visitation program that unites families each month for special visits in the prison. It allows kids that don’t have a way of getting to visit to actually see their mothers who are in prison. Over 100 children are part of the program every month. These visits allow kids to hug and kiss their mothers, and they are allowed to go to a quiet place and spent quality time with each other. The visitation program is AIM’s signature program.
In 1998, AIM started an aftercare and re-entry class that is called Project Reconnect. It is meant to help women who are about to be let out of prison, with the hopes of giving them successful transitions into the community. The program is designed for inmate mothers who are within about a year of the end of their sentences. The classes teach about life skills, getting ready for a job, conflict resolution, human sexuality and STD awareness.
AIM has many other programs that have been extremely beneficial to incarcerated mothers, as well as their families, and is always looking for ways to make their services more beneficial and useful to those who need them.