Summer Camp At An Illinois Correctional Facility

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This might be a little different than traditional summer camp. The ‘Mom and Me’ camp near Bloomington, Illinois gives children a chance to spend time with their incarcerated mothers. The children stay at a nearby campsite at night and then are bused to the prison where their mother is currently serving jail time. As opposed to normal vistation, it gives moms a chance to spend hours with their children, playing games and making crafts.. The faith-based program was started ten years ago by a Lincoln Correctional Center Chaplain, Laurie Tockey.

This camp will give 18 mothers a chance to bond with their children, ages 7 to 12, while they serve their sentences. While it may make some people nervous to take children into a prison, I think it gives a wonderful opportunity for these mothers to get ready for life outside of a correctional facility.

The fact is, these mothers will have to return to a normal life in the years to come. It makes sense to give them a chance to reconnect with their life throughout the year.

No matter how upsetting it may be, these children are going to have to deal with the realization that their parents have been in jail. There’s a possibility that this type of extended visit will make them feel more comfortable with their family’s circumstance. It will allow them to see their mother in a happier setting, sharing stories and attending church services.

Obviously, none of this represents an ideal circumstance. We would all prefer that no child has to endure their parents going to jail. But realistically speaking, it happens. Mothers commit crimes and they must serve a sentence for that. Anything we can do to help them stay connected to their family and help their children make it through that difficult time benefits all of us in the long run.