Mothers behind bars get a chance to parent while incarcerated

Posted at 9:26 PM, May 14, 2019

MURFREESBORO, Tenn (WTVF) — Four mothers incarcerated at the Rutherford County jail got a chance to hold, kiss and love on their children - something they no longer get to do.

It’s part of new program with the jail and The Family Center based in Murfreesboro. For years, the jail and the The Family Center offered inmates parenting class but this year staff are taking it a step further.

The mothers had to first go through an 8-week parenting course and once they graduated they go on to the next step, which was spending one on one quality time with their kids.

“One of my favorites is the parenting class that we get to do with our children was the nurturing and parenting. Our kids got to come in for six weeks every Tuesday, we got to spend an hour and half with them to learn about their feelings,” said Candy Donnell.

Donnell has been incarcerated for two years. She says this gives her chance to learn more about her three daughters; ages 13, 9 and 8. Donnell says she even got a chance to celebrate one of her daughter’s birthdays together.

“No matter where you’re at in life you’re still somebody; you’re still a mom, you’re still someone’s aunt, you’re still somebody’s friend and to be able to incorporate that while we’re here just because we made bad choices or may not have made positive choices doesn’t mean that we stop being mom,” Donnell said.

The detention center is now getting new candidates to participate in the program. Staff are hoping in the future to add father’s to the list.