|Updated: 6/05/2012 9:11 am
||Published: 6/04/2012 6:06 pm
Bedtime stories have a way of connecting children with their parents. But what happens when a mother isn’t there to tuck her child into bed?
That’s a reality at the Tulsa County Jail, but now you can help make sure children still get to hear their parent’s voices. The Storytime program has been going on for about 5 years now. Inmates are allowed to come to the library and pick out books to read to their children and they do this over audiotape.
13 months behind bars can take its toll. The days are long and the nights even longer. Sandy is facing a medical neglect charge and while she fights in court, her three children are left with a relative.
"It hurts really badly, but I'm blessed to know my children are safe and they are so happy and well taken care of,” Sandy says.
Bedtime stories can help inmates stay connected with their children on the outside.
"It's so cool. They record you reading it on tape and they let you pick out the book and everything and they mail it to your kids, and it’s like you’re reading a story to your kids,” she says.
The program was recently made available to the male inmates too.
"We have a certain classifications of inmates where they cannot come out of the pod, so we have some volunteers who go to them and read to them,” says Chaplin Mike Hardgrove.
Willissa is facing DUI and possession charges. Just knowing her children can hear her voice gives her some comfort that everything will be okay.
“It helps me realize that he's still there and he's so young and gets to hear my voice still so it helps a lot,” says Willissa.
Although the future is uncertain for both women, one that that remains constant in their live and the lives of their children is Storytime.
Some of the biggest needs at the jail for the Storytime program are bilingual books and more volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, you can call the Tulsa County Jail at 918-596-8920.
Oklahoma has the highest number of incarcerated women in the nation on a per capita basis.