'Read to Your Child/Grandchild' Program Returns

Apr 10, 2013, 12:54 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Read to Your Child/Grandchild" -- a program designed to increase and foster the relationships between incarcerated individuals and their children and/or grandchildren -- is once again being offered to Pennsylvania Department of Corrections inmates, with funding provided by the Inmate General Welfare Fund.

"This program is intended to increase the relationship between the child and adult, enhance family literacy, enrich one's life through reading and to make a positive influence stressing the importance of literacy development through a shared reading experience," PA Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said.

Wetzel said that 65 percent of more than 51,200 state prison inmates are parents.

"Knowing that 90 percent of our inmates will one day return home, we are excited to assist inmates in maintaining and improving their family relations," Wetzel said. "We support these types of transitional efforts and continue to explore methods which will provide for these important connections as part of the re-entry process."

During the program, which is coordinated by the DOC's Bureau of Correction Education, inmates select a book they believe will be of interest to their child or grandchild.  A period of time will be offered to prepare for the videotaped reading.  The offender also may choose to draw illustrations to accompany the book.

The story is read by the parent/grandparent and videotaped.  Not only is the child or grandchild able to hear the words as the story unfolds, but they can see their parent or grandparent. 

The book, the video and artwork is then sent to the child or grandchild with full involvement of the guardian.  The program reinforces relationships through a simple yet significant story.

The guardian of the child/grandchild is sent a letter at the beginning of the program to educate them about the program, which had been available at every state prison about a decade ago, but had been eliminated at some due to staffing issues and costs.

Inmate General Welfare Fund monies, which pay for this program, are earned through the sale of vending machine items in prison visiting rooms and through inmate telephone calls.

Media contact
Susan McNaughton, 717-728-4025
Susan Bensinger, 717-728-4026

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Corrections