New Program Helps Incarcerated Fathers Reconnect with Families

DEFUNIAK SPRINGS It's called "In and Out Dads.”

Visiting another jail facility inspired officials to give it a try at the Walton County Jail.

The 12 week course teaches fathers ways to keep in touch with their children while serving their sentence and then how to continue that once they're released.

Two sessions later and fathers are seeing an improvement.

"It's mainly how to control yourself, to not get angry and act like a civilized dad and not scream and you don't always have to result to that to make your child understand,” said Brian Schultz, Director of the Walton County Jail.

Jail officials say for a lot of parents who are in jail it can be difficult to keep in touch with their children.

Sometimes the children feel resentment, or abandonment.

But Schultz is hoping this program will help these prisoners take the lessons they learned and apply them to their lives.

"We are mainly trying to help those who have been incarcerated and their child as well. And we think this is going to help,” said Schultz.

Justin Bray has a nine month jail sentence and a 7-year-old daughter.

And while he can't see her every day this program has given him the tools he needs to continue that relationship.

"Be there, as a parent and a confidant, love your child, your children. I talk to her every day, we talk on the phone, we write, she writes me. She is just ready for me to come home,” said Bray.

For now, "In and Out Dads" is a 10 person class.

Jail officials have already been getting swarmed with questions on when another class will be available.


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