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Parenting program important

A graduation is always cause for celebration, and perhaps especially so when it takes place inside an incarceration facility and involves inmates.

For people who have made some mistakes in life and now are paying the price, it might be easy to give up, count themselves out of productive activities and waste their time in jail.

But the Western Tidewater Regional Jail’s robust educational programs are helping make sure that doesn’t happen for inmates who are willing to put forth the effort to better themselves. There have been GED graduations many times at the jail, and other programs offered to inmates feature graduation ceremonies of their own.

Recently, five inmates graduated from a program by the Virginia Family and Fatherhood Initiative called “Stronger Parents, Brighter Future.” The program is designed for inmates ages 18 to 24 who have children.

The men and women who completed this program were so motivated that they finished the course in half the time allotted. They learned how to better communicate with their children not only while they are incarcerated but also after they get out. The parents also learned stress management and other common aspects of being a parent and opened up with each other about the difficulties of being an incarcerated parent.

The program staff also reached out to the inmates’ families and offered support to the children’s other parents and guardians.

These five young parents are learning valuable lessons about parenting and about themselves while they’re spending time at Western Tidewater Regional Jail.

We commend the five people who chose to better themselves during their time of incarceration and extend our appreciation to the Western Tidewater Regional Jail authorities, the city of Portsmouth as grantors, and all others who helped make this happen.