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Inmates reunited with family for the holidays

CALDWELL, Ohio - Giving your child a hug; It is something you may not think twice about or even take for granted, but for the inmates at Noble Correctional Institution, hugging their children is something they constantly look forward to.

Wings For LIFE International and Prison Fellowship are giving the inmates and their families the opportunity to make memories and reconnect.

At Sunday's family day, there was plenty of excitement, love, and hugging.

"He loves it. Every time he sees me he lights up. He's been waiting for months for this visit. We go through pre-screenings. They started screening about five months ago. We've been counting down the days for this visit," said inmate Jeffrey Crews about his son. 

Wings For LIFE International and Prison Fellowship work to help inmates find purpose and prepare for reintegration back into society. 

One of the things they say is most important is the family structure, and events like Sunday's family day help inmates maintain relationships with their children and other relatives.

"We're trying to draw the inmate from a situation where they're living a life that's out of whack, out of place, and draw them back into place so that they can live a productive life. That, of course, changes communities. It changes society. It changes recidivism," said Richard Swiger, Ohio Director of Field Operations for Prison Fellowship. 

Inmate participation in the family day is based on behavior which gives them incentive to turn things around while incarcerated. 

"It changes the whole attitude of the inmates because now they have a chance to look forward to this all year if they behave themselves, and so they change their behaviors because they want to be with their families," said Ann Edenfield Sweet, Executive Director of Wings For LIFE.

Warden Tim Buchanan says this serves as a reminder that although they are incarcerated, these men are still people with families. 

"It's really about being human. We're all people. These people are going back to our communities. Their kids are going to school with our kids, and they go to our churches. They're all around us. This is the human thing to do, and it helps gets them prepared to do the right thing when they're released," said Buchanan. 

Wings For LIFE International hosts family days in prisons and jails across the country. 

You can find more information on the organization at WingsForLIFEInternational.org

For more information on Prison Fellowship, visit PrisonFellowship.org


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