Virginia Jail Gives Daughters Of Inmates The Most Adorable Father-Daughter Dance Ever
While reading this story about the Richmond County Jail in VirginiaÂ hosting a dance for inmates and their daughters, myÂ initialÂ thought was, do these men really deserve to get to spend an evening dancing and having fun? Then I took one look at the photo gallery and realized it’s not about the inmates but about the little girls who have to suffer everyday for crimes that they didn’t commit.
The father-daughter dance took place in the jail’s multi-purpose room which was decorated for the occasion. The inmates were able to go from wearing a jump suitÂ to a suit and tie before greeting their daughters who wereÂ eagerly waiting in their party dresses. Â I wasÂ surprisedÂ that a jail would even allow something like this to take place but jail officials say that they see theÂ danceÂ having a positiveÂ effect on the inmates.
“People may think itâ€™s crazy to have this in a jail,â€ says [Richmond City Sheriff C.T. Woody], 67, a veteran homicide detective. â€œBut it builds respect. You wouldnâ€™t believe what it does for these menâ€™s confidence to dress them up. So this danceÂ can have a ripple effect.”
The dance is not something that was just thrown together on a whim.The inmates who attend must be non-violent offenders who are interviewed by jail officials and have their criminal histories reviewed. The girls’ mothers also must give permission.
The idea was born when a girl said she felt left out because her father was locked up, said Angela Patton, head of Camp Diva, a Richmond nonprofit that works to empower African American girls.
We thought, â€˜These girls need their fathers, too,â€™ â€ said Patton, who hopes to replicate the dance in the Washington area. â€œBut we also thought, â€˜Letâ€™s not just throw the girls and the dads together in the jail. Letâ€™s prepare everyone. This is not just some dance thatâ€™s about punch and cookies.'”
When I was in high school my school hosted a father-daughter dance.Â My friends and I would dress up and our dadsÂ bought us corsages. We walked in the school gym and had our pictures taken before dancing with our dads for a few hours. It was very sweet and I regret only going my freshman year, before I became a too-cool-for-school-dances-with-Dad teenager.
The dance at the Richmond County Jail mayÂ be veryÂ different than the one I attended but the idea is the same — girls being able to bond with their dad.Â As an added bonus forÂ theseÂ girls, they finally have a memory of their father that won’t involve talking to him through a glass window.