Through the WRAP Program, Escambia County Jail Inmates are Reading to Their Children

February 7, 2012

(Press Release) – Women who volunteer to participate in the WRAP Program (Women’s Reentry Assistance Program) at the Escambia County Jail can now read books to their children during their jail visits. 

 The Women’s Reentry Assistance Program (WRAP) was developed and implemented in the Escambia County Central Booking and Detention Facility in January 2011.  The program is eight weeks in duration and targets those women who are serving county jail sentences.  The program offers counseling and case management to participants prior to release.

 The idea of reading books came about when one young mother asked what she could do during the hour-long visits she had with her 2 year old son. Children are able to see their parents through a glass window, but cannot touch or play with their children during visits.   She said that he would get impatient and attempt to run around the visitation area, which is not permitted.  This question was brought up in the parenting class offered by Community Drug and Alcohol Council, which is one of the many classes offered in WRAP.

 Books used in the lending library were generously donated by The Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County.  Parents are required to complete a “book report” after each visit recording which books they borrowed and what the experience was like both for them and their child. 

  One mom is now reading books on every visit and said, “My child loves for me to read her books at home, so she was really excited for me to be able to do it from in here.  It made me feel better as a mother to still be able to do something she enjoyed during this time.”

 The benefits of reading to children are great, increasing the parent-child bond as well as increasing reading-readiness skills.  If parents can make a positive connection with their child while in jail, then that will hopefully help them continue that relationship when they are released and are back with their families.

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