As a lawyer who dabbles in criminal defense work, I’ve had the opportunity/responsibility of visiting the local jail several times and a state prison once. Visiting a jail or prison facility is, well, depressing and unsettling and I’m allowed to leave when I want to leave. One time I wasn’t able to leave when I wanted to leave, and I don’t think I could do jail for very long—I need my freedom.
For the most part the people I have met at the jail have been good people who have made bad choices in their lives. They have feelings just like anyone else, and they struggles with the same kinds of trials that many of us struggle with plus some additional trials. When I saw a picture from a recent daddy-daughter dance in jail in Virginia I couldn’t help but wish that similar things would happen at more jails.
A non-profit called Camp Diva in Richmond, Virginia had heard from some young girls who had fathers who were in jail and these girls expressed their desire to be able to have the experience of going to dances with their fathers just like other girls got to do. Camp Diva approached the Sheriff at the Richmond City Jail about putting on a dance inside the jail and the Sheriff agreed.
The dance was a great way to help the inmates see what they are missing by making bad choices in their lives. I can only imagine what I would feel if I had made a bad choice and was locked away from my daughters where they couldn’t have any physical contact with me except through one dance inside the jail. It would be a good learning and motivating experience. The Sheriff noted, “They are not hard core criminals, they deserve a second chance . . . [a]nd they can be very good citizens and the best way to make a good citizen is to make good fathers.” That’s a very true statement by the Sheriff.
The experience is also great for the girls. They get to have the chance to spend time with their fathers in a way that other girls get to do, and it is something they can look forward to and will be a memory they will have for the rest of their lives that will hopefully allow them to look past the mistakes their fathers made for at least a brief moment of their lives.
Photo Credit: Flickr
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