The Californian published a news report about a program for prison kids called Camp Grace. For five whole days, these children got to connect with their fathers in prison, who they’ve never met in-person…. until now.
It was a week of joy and emotional connections when Camp Grace brought children of incarcerated parents together with their fathers recently. For five whole days, children who had never met with their fathers in-person, but spoken with them on phone, were able to have a personal time together.
Parents and children played, chatted, created murals, and generally had a nice time together while the opportunity lasted. They hung out together with their prison fathers at Salinas Valley State Prison, a CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations) facility.
Program for Prison Kids Gives Them 5 Days with Dads in Prison
Camp Grace is a 5-day family-strengthening program. Incarcerated fathers within the program are brought together with their children to encourage bonding. It is offered by Place4Grace, a California-based non-profit organization.
The Camp Grace event first took place at the Calipatria State Prison in 2012, another CDCR prison. Later, CDCR provided funding for the Calipatria program for three years under the Innovation Grant program.
The funding will enable Camp Grace to hold future events at Salinas Valley State Prison and other California state prisons for three years. The Innovative Grants Program is set up to provide successful rehabilitative programs to prisons that are underserved in the state.
The one that was just concluded at the Salinas Valley State Prison was the first of such event at the prison. It included six Salinas Valley State Prison inmates and their eight children.
Incarcerated fathers must be of good behavior and discipline-free for one year before they can qualify to be included in the Camp Grace program. Their prison children must be within the ages of 8 to 14 years to be able to meet.
These children get the chance to meet their prison dads for the very first time.
About the Imprisoned Dads of Camp Grace
Sentenced to 125-years-to-life for murder, Kamorrie Randle met with his son Jackson 11 years after his incarceration. Jackson was not born yet when Kamorrie was sentenced to prison.
During the Camp Grace event, they played sports and created art in their first in-person father-son meetup.
Cameron Francisco was only five years old when his daddy, Keelon Francisco, was sentenced to prison. Now 13, Cameron had the best of time with his dad. It was a real delight to see Keelon holding his boy tight in a warm fatherly embrace.
They played baseball and football together and interacted with the Camp Grace staff during the 5-day program at Salinas Prison.
According to Karen McDaniel, Executive Director of Place4Grace, the 5-day visitation program enables children to get through difficulties they can’t get through during regular prison visits.
“‘Children experience a lot of emotions when they come to visit their parents, and at Camp Grace, they’re allowed to work through those emotions throughout the course of a week,’ said McDaniel, whose background is in educational psychology.”
Video: The US Saw Lowest Number of People in Decades
By the end of 2015, about 1 out of every 37 U.S. adults was under some type of supervision of corrections. This is the lowest number since 1994, according to a video provided by Newsy Newslook. Watch the video below for details.
Do you believe it’s important for prison kids who’ve never met the incarcerated dads to spend long-periods of them with them like this? How do you think it either helps or hurts these kids? Share your thoughts with us below.
Charles Omedo has a degree in Mass Communication and a PGD in Digital Communication. He worked as a newspaper/magazine reporter and editor for many years. Now, he writes daily news articles for private clients. Charles has written for US/UK/Canadian/Indian clients on various niches. He currently writes prison news for loved ones of inmates on the Prison Rideshare Network.