Camp Hope Brings Together Fathers, Children
Closing program at noon on July 30, 2010

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TOWSON, MD (July 29, 2010)--- North Branch Correctional Institution (NBCI) this week is hosting nine children for an innovative summer camp that allows incarcerated fathers to spend time with their children.

Hope House, established in 1998 in Washington, D.C., runs the program. NBCI is the first state facility, and the first maximum-security facility, to host Camp Hope.

The children will be with their fathers at NBCI each morning until early afternoon. Various arts and crafts and games are scheduled. After they leave the institution each day, children stay at a nearby campground.

Media is invited to visit NBCI, to interview a father and children involved with Camp Hope and speak with prison officials Friday. Please RSVP if planning to attend.

“Family connection is a big deal for our inmates and more importantly for their kids,” Division of Correction Commissioner J. Michael Stouffer said. “Perhaps Camp Hope will inspire the kids to choose a different path from their fathers.”

Division of Correction programming promotes the power of family as a restorative tool. Many institutions offer an annual Family Day for inmates who meet proper criteria, as well as other parent-child bonding programs that strengthen family support. At Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, the inmates can participate in a similar Girl Scout program with their daughters.

The fathers who are allowed to participate in this program were carefully screened by NBCI staff. Participants take part in a Parenting Group run through the facility’s Social Work department. They are also infraction-free for at least a year. Sexual offenders are not allowed to participate.

After the weeklong program is completed, inmates will continue on in a psychology group specifically designed for these Camp Hope fathers.