Prison parenting program helps connect families - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Prison parenting program helps connect families

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

Every year in the United States, 2.2 million men and women are incarcerated. Many of them are mothers and fathers.

According to the Voices of Incarceration Project, this leaves behind more than 2.2 million children.

Imagine being confined to one building while you're four months pregnant, without the freedom and comfort of your own home. That's the reality many incarcerated women face every day.

In Billings, many of those women have the chance for a better experience through the Montana Women's Prison parenting program.

"I'm confident that I'm going to be able to transition and go into the community and be a good mom. I have the tools now. I've learned a lot and how to be a good mom," one woman in the program said.

The parenting program provides services for women in the months leading up to and following the birth of their child. It includes both pre and postnatal support groups as well as mental and emotional support from staff members.

"They're like having a second mom around."

Even after time has passed, the mothers still have the opportunity to see their kids.

"They've helped me so much. In the beginning, I got weekly visits with my baby and she was actually adopted by a great family," another woman in the program said.

The program offers "kids day" once a month, where the kids and parents get quality time in the "parenting center."

"It's very homey. It's like you're in home. This is the little home part of prison."

"When the kids come here it's not like it's a scary place to come to. It's homey and there's games and there's toys."

The women say, the courses and support of the program have helped both them and their children through this tough situation. They say this program has given them hope and confidence.

"I control my destiny."

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