Unique Program Gives Children an Opportunity to Bond with their Incarcerated Mother
DECATUR – August 5, 2011 – The Illinois Department of Corrections will be hosting the Mom and Me Camp Program at two facilities in Central Illinois next week. This unique program will take place August 7 – 10, 2011 at the Lincoln Correctional Center and the Decatur Correctional Center. This is the 10th year for the program in Lincoln, and the fifth year in Decatur.
Mom and Me Camp is a unique program that brings children ages seven through twelve together with their incarcerated mothers for three days of activities at the correctional centers. The children arrive at East Bay Camp near Bloomington on Sunday, and then travel to the correctional centers by bus where they spend time with mom participating in activities planned and supervised by volunteers. Activities include playing games, making crafts, and quiet time together. The activities are designed to give children and their mothers an opportunity to communicate and bond with one another in a way that usually doesn’t happen during short visits in the prison Visiting Room. The children return to the Bloomington camp in the evenings where they are supervised by volunteers and participate in traditional summer camp activities like swimming, nature hikes, and campfires.
Mom and Me Camp was the vision of the late Chaplain Laurie Tockey at the Lincoln Correctional Center. Chaplain Tockey recognized the impact on children of seeing their incarcerated mothers only occasionally and for short periods of time, and then often having to share their mom’s time with the adults who brought them. He envisioned a program that would allow children and their moms to spend an extended amount of time together, and where mom would give her undivided attention to her child.
This year forty-seven volunteers will help make the camp happen at both facilities. Twenty-six children and eighteen moms will participate at the Lincoln Correctional Center, and fourteen children and eleven moms will participate at the Decatur Correctional Center. Mom and Me Camp is a faith-based program, and volunteers strive to show the children and mothers how much they are loved and valued. The expenses of Mom and Me Camp are covered entirely by private donations.
Mom and Me Camp fits perfectly with the mission of the Division of Women and Family Services to provide programs and services to address the unique medical, social, psychological, educational, vocational, and parental needs of female offenders that will help them successfully re-enter society and re-unite with their families.
IDOC operates 27 prisons throughout Illinois in addition to work camps, boot camps and adult transition centers. The agency is committed to operating a safe and secure prison system as well as enhancing prison-based treatment, prevention programs and the successful reentry of inmates into society which will lead to lowering recidivism rates