NORFOLK Va. (WAVY) — Parenting from behind bars is no easy feat, but there is a program at the Norfolk City Jail that is helping mothers connect with their children.
10 On Your Side shared the story of a new program inside Norfolk City jail called ‘The Messages Project,” which gives inmates the chance to reach out to their children even when they can’t see them.
After months of working in a jail classroom, a wave of female inmates graduated from the program and the creator of the project, Carolyn Lecroy, was there as a keynote speaker.
Lecroy wound up in the city jail in 1994 for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and a conspiracy charge.
Once she was released from prison, she created the program in order to to create a healthy family connection between a mother and child from jail.
“I hurt my children, I deserted my children, my children were angry at me. My children were pissed off at me. I chose whatever it was that I did over them,” said Lecroy.
However, with this project, jail leaders hope children who connect with their parents won’t experience social, emotional and educational problems.
Mothers say this has changed their lives – not only inside jail walls – but when they get out.
“I’m feeling overwhelmed and super excited,” said inmate Tracy Draughan. “It feels like God is going all through my veins and all through my body and I’m honored to be a mom right now.”
Currently, there are 2.7 million minor children who have a parent in jail or prison, which amounts to 4% of children in America.