‘It gives them hope’: Parenting workshop held at Raymond Laborde Correctional Center

On Tuesday, August 9, Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree organization hosted a ‘Parent Day’ workshop at the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center in Cottonport.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 4:10 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2022 at 4:13 PM CDT
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COTTONPORT, La. (KALB) - On Tuesday, August 9, Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree organization hosted a ‘Parent Day’ workshop at the Raymond Laborde Correctional Center in Cottonport.

The Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree, most known for its work getting Christmas presents to children whose parents are incarcerated, hosted the workshop, focusing on ways inmates could be more involved with their kids from behind bars. In fact, according to Angel Tree, 1 in 49 children in the U.S. have had a parent or both parents incarcerated.

“We come in here to give them hope and encouragement and help lead them and guide them so they can make better choices in their lives, and they can return home to their children and to their family and become better citizens, and that’s good for all of us,” said Dale White, Angel Tree Chaplain Liason.

Kris Erskine, the Senior Pastor of the Movement Fellowship Church in Birmingham, Alabama, spoke at the workshop and told us that continuing to build family relationships while an individual is incarcerated is important for them to have success once they are released.

“The disconnect with distance already is a major barrier for parenting. What it does is that one opportunity brings the child closer to them and brings them closer to the child so that once they are released that relationship has fostered through the years.”

Warden Marcus Myers oversees the nearly 1,800 prisoners incarcerated in Cottonport. He said when inmates focus on their families, the benefits are seen sometimes years before they are released.

“Just because they made a mistake, this is not the end of the line. There’s a lot of hope to be maintained and knowing that they have family out there waiting on them, especially children,” said Myers. “Those guys in there that are fathers, it gives them a lot of hope and gives them a lot of reason to rehabilitate themselves, do better, learn the values, learn the responsibilities from things like this and go someday and put them into motion. Just because you’re incarcerated, you’re still a son, you’re still a father, you still have those responsibilities, just in a different manner.”

This was the first event of its kind to take place at a correctional facility in Louisiana.

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