The North Dakota State Penitentiary (NDSP), the James River Correctional Center (JRCC), and the Missouri River Correctional Center (MRCC), in collaboration with the Children of Incarcerated Parents Initiative, held Father's Day events during the month of June. These events lent positive and constructive support to the relationships between residents and their children.
On June 15, families at JRCC participated in the Kids and Dad Picnic event. Families gathered to celebrate Father’s Day by painting different types of wooden hearts that were made into “piece of my heart” necklaces. The child was able to keep half and the other half was kept by the resident. Residents and their families shared a picnic-style dinner, visited and played games.
That same day, families at MRCC held a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-focused visiting event. Families had 30 minutes to build boats out of household materials such as aluminum foil, string, sponges, straws, rubber bands and pipe cleaners. Once the boats were built, they floated in water and marbles were added to see which boat could hold the most weight before it sank.
On June 16, families at NDSP participated in a Father’s Day dinner event. Families shared a meal, read books to their children, constructed heart keychains and took fun family photos. All items from the event were donated to the children and their families. Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, a residential treatment and education program for children and families, donated the meal for this event.
These events stem from the Children of Incarcerated Parents Initiative, a statewide effort to keep families intact. Studies have shown that children of incarcerated adults who are able to visit their parents have increased positive outcomes. The initiative focuses on evidence-based intervention to reduce recidivism and improve positive outcomes for children with an incarcerated parent.