Established in 1987 to provide helpful programs to incarcerated mothers, the Aid to Inmate Mothers (AIM) organization is seeking for more ways to help female inmates in Alabama prisons.
The not-for-profit organization has several programs geared towards helping incarcerated women connect with their families and live successful lives outside when released. Based in Montgomery, AIM is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
AIM understands the importance of family connection to incarcerated mothers. Most of the organization’s programs are geared towards this end.
And the non-profit has achieved a lot over the decades to reunite female inmates with their kids at every opportunity.
AIM developed nine cardinal programs to help female inmates in Alabama connect with themselves and with their kids.
Offender Parents Get Incarcerated, But Children Become the Victims, Potok Emphasized
AIM is all about education and support for incarcerated mothers. And for their families through enriching programs. Several studies underscore the importance of connection and bonding between incarcerated persons and their kids.
This has been shown to promote recidivism and encourage good behaviors behind bars. The reason many support groups target the children of incarcerated mothers is largely because these children suffer greatly for their parents’ faults.
Carol Potok, executive director at AIM, noted that children of incarcerated parents are innocent in respect to their parents’ errors. Offender parents get incarcerated, but children become the victims, Potok emphasized. She added that children of incarcerated parents are often overlooked in the society, and the disruptions they suffer set them off in the wrong directions.
AIM’s Many Programs and How It Is Helping Female Inmates in Alabama
To ensure that kids reconnect with their incarcerated mothers regardless of the distance of the prisons, AIM started the Monthly Visitation program many years ago. They organize transportation and arrange monthly visits of children to their incarcerated mothers.
Over 100 children in Alabama enjoy this monthly visit and imprisoned mothers are so grateful for it. During the visit, kids hug and kiss their mothers and spend quality time together.
Precisely in 1998, AIM also started Project Reconnect. This program helps women who are about to be released from prison to re-enter the society successfully. Women that have one more year to complete their time are made to sit for transitional courses.
These courses teach life skills, human sexuality, conflict resolution, STD awareness, and job preparedness among others. Guest speakers also teach about domestic violence and sentencing laws and grants as well as how to be a successful parolee.
AIM is also looking to do much more with its Storybook Program. Begun in 2000, the program provides incarcerated mothers with the opportunity to read their favorite books and the reading is videoed and then sent in DVDs to their children back home.
Over 800 female inmates and their kids took part in this program in 2016. AIM is still looking at more ways to be of help to incarcerated mothers and the family they left behind.