Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Center Allows Overnight Visits for Female Inmates, Their Children

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 12:29 PM

click to enlarge Photos show the inside of the Child Visitation Center in Henning. - TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION
  • Tennessee Department of Correction
  • Photos show the inside of the Child Visitation Center in Henning.

Some mothers who are state inmates can now spend the night with their children thanks to the new Child Visitation Building opened in Henning last month.

The new facility is on the campus of the West Tennessee Women’s Therapeutic Residential Center but is separated from the main building and its inmates. The facility has a common room with a community kitchenette and a living area with a television and toys. The inmate rooms have beds for the inmate and a child.

The Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) says this program helps offenders keep positive ties with their families during their incarceration.

“This not only curbs generational criminal behavior, but it also assists with family reunification post incarceration.,” TDOC said in a news release. “In fact, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) research shows children who are allowed to bond with the parent, during the parent’s period of incarceration, have a better chance of breaking the generational cycle of criminal behavior.”

TDOC said the safety of the children visitors are of the “utmost importance.” Inmates can qualify for the visits only if they are classified at a medium custody level or below and don’t have any serious disciplinary infractions before the weekend visits. TDOC staff supervise the visits.

Sex offenders or those convicted of child abuse or child neglect are not permitted to participate in the program. Participants must complete a parenting program and the child’s legal guardian must approve the visit.

Mothers must supervise their children during the entire visit. If not, the visit may be suspended and the inmate may not be allowed future visits.

To see more photos of the building, go to TDOC’s Flickr site.

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