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Thread: Girl Scouts bring fathers and daughters together in prison

  1. #1
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    Girl Scouts bring fathers and daughters together in prison

    Lugging boxes filled with sandwiches, Hawaiian Punch, potato chips and sashes bearing merit badges, the girls file into a linoleum-floor visiting room on Wednesday afternoon. They range in age from 6 to 12; they are in shorts and purple Girl Scout T-shirts, in tennis shoes and ankle socks, their hair bouncing in pony tails, swept back with headbands, tied with sparkling barrettes.

    Their dads -- most of them imprisoned for drug trafficking, serving sentences ranging from 36 months to 18 years -- hang back for a few heartbeats, adjusting to an abrupt shift in reality. They have just been strip-searched before being allowed to change into identical polo shirts and khaki trousers, rewards for good behavior and participating in this program.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2006/LAW/06/16/prison.dads.ap/

    Thoughts anyone?
    Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........

    Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?


    "Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mysteriew
    Lugging boxes filled with sandwiches, Hawaiian Punch, potato chips and sashes bearing merit badges, the girls file into a linoleum-floor visiting room on Wednesday afternoon. They range in age from 6 to 12; they are in shorts and purple Girl Scout T-shirts, in tennis shoes and ankle socks, their hair bouncing in pony tails, swept back with headbands, tied with sparkling barrettes.

    Their dads -- most of them imprisoned for drug trafficking, serving sentences ranging from 36 months to 18 years -- hang back for a few heartbeats, adjusting to an abrupt shift in reality. They have just been strip-searched before being allowed to change into identical polo shirts and khaki trousers, rewards for good behavior and participating in this program.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2006/LAW/06/16/prison.dads.ap/

    Thoughts anyone?
    I dont think anyone would like to hear my thought.....I realize they are not on death row.......but girlscouts visiting in prison..

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by j2mirish
    I dont think anyone would like to hear my thought.....I realize they are not on death row.......but girlscouts visiting in prison..
    I understand. I am so shocked the Girl Scout Concil approved this trip. Wonder what badge for their vest this warrants?

  4. #4
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    It is a whole girl scout program, not a "one off" trip.

    It is beneficial to both Father and Daughters....I guess that is why the program exists. Other see the value in it, as I do also.

  5. #5
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    Children should not be allowed in a prison, especially all girls in a men's prison, come on!!!!

  6. #6
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    I see both sides, I guess. I don't like the idea of girl scouts going into a prison- for any reason..... but kids need to see their parents. These seem to be all non-violent offenders and it sounds like they're given a room of their own to have their 'sessions' of girl scout snacks, sewing, etc... I think it benefits the kids and the dads.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Masissy
    Children should not be allowed in a prison, especially all girls in a men's prison, come on!!!!
    I'm sure there are guards galore, what exactly do you think is going to happen here? Remember, this is a medium-security prison. They are not in the presence of murderers and rapists.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin
    I'm sure there are guards galore, what exactly do you think is going to happen here? Remember, this is a medium-security prison. They are not in the presence of murderers and rapists.
    You could have a guard for each child, but that guard cannot protect the mental impact it can have on a child. This is not your normal run of the mill field trip. Why not go and devote your troop to a place more positive, nursing homes, cleaning up parks, visiting the elderly that live by themselves, children's hospital, etc. Instead this troop leader decided to expose their girls to an all MEN'S prison. I don't care if they are not murderers or rapists, but they are criminals. In my opionion I would not want my daughter exposed to the filth that could happen and a guard not see it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Masissy
    You could have a guard for each child, but that guard cannot protect the mental impact it can have on a child. This is not your normal run of the mill field trip. Why not go and devote your troop to a place more positive, nursing homes, cleaning up parks, visiting the elderly that live by themselves, children's hospital, etc. Instead this troop leader decided to expose their girls to an all MEN'S prison. I don't care if they are not murderers or rapists, but they are criminals. In my opionion I would not want my daughter exposed to the filth that could happen and a guard not see it.
    They are visiting their own dads - not just taking a field trip to a local prison. While I'm not sure how I feel about this, I think it is probably a good thing for the parent and child to retain/establish a bond. These men, while criminals, are their parent who will one day get out to be a part of their family again. If it helps both the girls and their dads, then I guess it can't be a bad thing.

  10. #10
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    From a childs point of view....

    Myself and my two sisters were taken to visit my father in prison. I was a mess on the inside but kept my face pretty blank. It is probably one of the worst days of my life, just mentioning this here brings back how awful I felt inside.

    I made choices and I live a completely different way than how I grew up. I adore my hubby and kids and there is NO WAY my kids would go near a prison. A father does something to get prison time he doesn't deserve to see his children.

    Only my opinion of course,


    Jubie

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jules
    They are visiting their own dads - not just taking a field trip to a local prison. While I'm not sure how I feel about this, I think it is probably a good thing for the parent and child to retain/establish a bond. These men, while criminals, are their parent who will one day get out to be a part of their family again. If it helps both the girls and their dads, then I guess it can't be a bad thing.

    I hear you Jules, IF the father had a close relationship with the child before hand then phone calls, pictures, letters etc. would help keep a bond in place. I just don't feel allowing children at a prison of any kind is good for a child.



    Jubie

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jubie
    I hear you Jules, IF the father had a close relationship with the child before hand then phone calls, pictures, letters etc. would help keep a bond in place. I just don't feel allowing children at a prison of any kind is good for a child.



    Jubie
    I know, Jubie, I'm kinda torn too. I've never been to a prison so I can only imagine what a child would go through seeing that environment - let alone an adult. I do think the prison did everything they could to make it unlike a prison. The dads were allowed to wear other clothing and the day took place somewhere other than the regular visitation rooms. Perhaps that helped the girls.

    As I said, they will eventually be out and living again with the kids. I think it is important that they bond over something the girls like and take an interest in. I applaude their attempts and hope it makes a difference in all their lives.

    And, I'M SOOOOOO GLAD I don't ever have to make a decision to allow or not to allow my daughter to visit her dad in prison.

  13. #13
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    When a child goes into a visiting park (I can only speak for Death Row in Florida here) it's a brightly lit room with a place to purchase chips and drinks. There are steel tables and chairs attached to the floor. There are guards sitting up front in case someone has to go to the bathroom or someone kisses someone else longer than the 5 seconds at the start and end of a visit.

    Every prisoner knows that if they make even one small infraction, they will not be allowed back for visits for sometimes over two years. They are on their best behavior at all times. It's actually more polite and comfortable (emotionally comfortable - the chairs are not!) and safe than sitting at the food court in the mall.

    From the sound of some of the posts, I get the idea that people do not know what it's like to visit others who are incarcerated and maybe assume it's dangerous at all.

    I am not discounting the one poster who found it traumatic to visit a prison. I cannot say how this person was raised to deal with stressful situations or what that particular prison was like. Your experience was just as real and valid as mine, I know that.

    From the description given in the article, I could see how it could be alot like the visitation my daughter and I enjoy visiting a death row inmate regularly. She said she was a bit nervous before she got there, but once she was there and greeted warmly - even by the guards - she wants to keep going back.

    It's fine with me for you to agree or disagree with me, I just wanted to say that it's not scarey, gloomy and dangerous with anyone doing any groping or leering. From the article, only the prisoners involved in this program are with the kids.

    That said:
    I did NOT take my daughter to visit her father when he was incarcerated, though. She was 5 and mentally stressed out from the divorce and unable to handle that kind of ordeal. Now that she is older, it's no big thing to her. So, perhaps it's more dependant on the child and their level of development than it is a cut or dry "yes it's good" or yes "it's bad" thing.
    FUN... is a renewable resource!

  14. #14
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    It sounds like these dads are required to earn (through good behavior) the priviledge of spending time with their daughters when they come. To me it sounds like these guys are committed to keeping a bond with their daughters and the prison and girls scouts have worked to provide a safe, comfortable, positive way for the girls to spend time with their dads.

    I think this gives them a way to keep the father/daughter bond alive and give the guys a living breathing reason to keep their lives on the straight and narrow.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin
    Remember, this is a medium-security prison. They are not in the presence of murderers and rapists.
    Of course there are these people in a medium-security prison.They are re-classified.There are many that were classified as high,then went to medium,then lower before release.
    We have many of these in our community release unit,they are released daily to work,and then come back to the facility after they have completed their work hours.Many of them have been convicted of murder,rape and so on.I will also say that some have failed been in and out of this program.


    As far as the thread goes,I saw this on the news and did not post it because we have had Girl Scouts,Cub Scouts,Church members,ect.,visit their family members (if they are a victim,they are not allowed to visit here).This is not unusual.

  16. #16
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    I can see pluses and minuses on this. Yes, it may be traumatic on the girls at first. But I presume that no child is forced to attend. And to the girls, this isn't an average prisoner they are visiting, it is their father.
    Not only that, we can't tell what their relationship with their father was like on the outside. But some of the girls may have had very little relationship with their fathers, due to fathers being occupied with other things. Yet when they go to the prison, they get 100% of their father's attention. The activities are focused on things they like, and their father is helping them. It is fun and games with them being the center of attention. With that kind of a distraction, I would say that their surroundings would soon be forgotten.
    As had been mentioned, this is good for the prison. It is an activity outside of the prison routine that would give a break to the prisoner. It is an earned privilege that would encourage good behavior.
    And for the prisoner, it not only helps them keep contact with their child, it may act as a future deterrent. When they get out, it is important to keep them focused on staying out. By developing a relationship with their daughter, hopefully that will give them a reason to keep them straight. They actually get involved with their kid, and learn who she is and what she is like. It makes the kid important in their life.
    An instead of another fatherless kid, they are suddenly a kid with a father, working to overcome some challenges.
    Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........

    Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?


    "Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight

  17. #17
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    Like some have said above, I think it depends completly on the child's capability to handle the situation. My daughter's father has been in prison since a week before she was born (she is 22 months old now). Since she started seeing him as a baby, it is not scary or stressful for her. But she DOES recognize him and give him a big smile and run over to him with a big hug now. Where we go the guards are all very friendly, it is just like a big room with a bunch of chairs in it. Kids are allowed to bring toys in (certain ones are not allowed, such as books, balls, things with batteries, ect) and there are vending machines. Because her father is going to be out sometime in the future, and he will be involved (as long as he stays drug free, if not we will be moving across the country to not be around him) so I don't want this stranger just popping into her life next year. She knows him and it gives him a reason to behave and strive to turn his life around. I see it as a win-win situation for us. Although I realize it would be a whole different ballgame if she was older.

  18. #18
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    Whether it's a good idea for a child to visit her dad in prison is up to the kid and her family. But as it is, kids can already visit their dads in prison even if they're not girl scouts, so long as they're accompanied by an adult, so it's not like there wouldn't be any kids visiting there if this program didn't exist. I once visited an inmate on Georgia's Death Row as part of a research project, and the visiting area was filled with kids of all ages, even infants (the inmates were on the other side of a plexiglass window with little open squares drilled through it so you could talk to each other, and no contact was allowed).

    If anything, this program seems like it might be safer than letting a kid go with her mom to visit her dad, because there are so many other people who have training (scoutmasters, chaperones, etc.) around to keep any eye on things. And it also probably provides an opportunity for some daughters to see their dads more often than they would without the program, because some kids might have difficulty finding someone to go with them (for example, Mom might work during visiting hours).

  19. #19
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    I was surprised here in Florida to see Death Row inmates holding their grandchildren. One man held that little baby and walked back and forth like she was the most precious thing on the planet - and I'm sure she is. He was a natural. Who knows what he did to get in there, but he is certainly capable of a whole lot of love. The more love a child can be shown - by anyone - the better.
    FUN... is a renewable resource!

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