Dancing, playing replaces partitioned prison visits for kids

Should there be more supervision in prison cells?

ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut is changing the way it handles visits between prisoners and their children.

The reintegration center at the Willard-Cybulski prison in Enfield is one of five sites in a pilot program called Family Connections, which is designed to help inmates become better parents both behind bars and once they are released.

The inmates are taking parenting classes and guards are receiving training on how to interact with children to create a more welcoming environment.

The prison’s visiting room is undergoing a makeover to allow contact visits and will now include toys and games. On Monday night, the prison hosted a family dance.

Prison officials say about 5 million children in the United States have a parent in prison and research shows fostering better relationships can lower recidivism.

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