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Washington County

Posted: Jul 25, 2023 3:18 PMUpdated: Jul 25, 2023 3:18 PM

Washington County Jail Offers Parenting Class for Inmates

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Nathan Thompson
A groundbreaking program at the Washington County Detention Center is helping to rehabilitate inmates with children and teach them parenting skills while they are in jail to better serve their families when they are released.
The Washington County Sheriff's Office has partnered with a Tulsa-based nonprofit called Family & Children Services  to offer a program called "Parenting in Jail." The program began less than a year ago and Undersheriff Jon Copeland says it has been a huge success.
An educator from Family & Children Services comes to the Washington County Jail two to three times per week to hold the parenting classes for both male and female inmates. Each course lasts approximately 6 weeks. Once the inmate makes significant progress and meet benchmarks in the program, they can then proceed to weekly family visits — either via videoconference or in-person. In some instances, minor children can visit for one hour per week.
Thanks to the growing partnership, Family & Children Services Program Director Lucie Doll says the agency and Washington County have also began a caregiver support program at the beginning of this year. Doll says the program is helping Arizona State University develop a curriculum for caregivers.
The program originally began in Tulsa County and has been ongoing there for several years. Thanks to TANF funding from Oklahoma Human Services, it has grown to include Washington and Osage counties, along with three other jails in northeast Oklahoma. OHS Director Deborah Shropshire says she is impressed with what she sees in Washington County.
Copeland says the program is helping inmates be better community citizens, better family members once they are released and to keep them from re-offending. He says those are the main goals, and it is seeing great success.

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