Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th of February, but at Stafford Creek Corrections Center, the day was celebrated one day later during a bimonthly Family Fun Night. There were 40 incarcerated individuals and their guests.
A press release from Communications Consultant Karisa Lightfoot at the Washington Department of Corrections said that they encourage family participation as a way to not only improve the
Joseph, one of the incarcerated participants, had eight family members visit.
“I feel like I am not locked up. This is a great time to enjoy my family especially as the family fun night is every other month,” he said.
Joseph had his wife, children, and grandchildren at the event. The family watched a movie, played games, and did crafts together. He was proud that on this visit, he got to advise his grandson on college choices.
Another incarcerated participant, Peter, had his mother and a friend visit. He expressed gratitude for seeing his family outside of regular visits.
“My mom enjoys it. The best part is she gets to take home a reminder of me through the crafts we have done together,” Peter said.
Peter added that he believed that this was therapeutic for his mother. “It helps to renew our bond as a family.”
His mother, Cynthia, reaffirmed this saying, “Even though what we do is simple, this gives us an opportunity to not only talk but to do something together. At the end of the visit, I take back whatever we did and hang it up. Today I am taking home cards and love bugs that I will share with his sister and grandmother.”
Also in attendance was Associate Superintendent Jeneva Cotton who said, “I believe in the reintegration of incarcerated individuals with their families. On such events, I get to see a different side of our population as they participate in different activities with their families.”
The Family Fun Nights are part of the Family Services unit. Events like these are designed for the incarcerated population to strengthen bonds with their prosocial support systems leading to a more successful reentry back into the community.