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Program helps dads behind bars improve parenting skills

6:50 PM, Apr 4, 2013   |    comments
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Sherry Price (left) and Tim Francis (right) will lead the Team Dad program at the Monroe County Jail.

A new program at the Monroe County Jail will help dads behind bars become better parents.

On Thursday, about 30 inmates enrolled with Team Dad.

Through the program, fathers will be taught parenting and life skills for three hours, every Thursday, for three weeks.

"If we can get families back together, it can save a whole lot. We got children who end up in foster care. I've been a foster parent, my wife and I, for several years. We of course always want to introduce them back to their families. Children need their parents," Sheriff Bivens said.

Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority introduced Team Dad to the jail.

It is already a program in Monroe County.

"We're about a year and half, almost two years, into our program. And actually some of the inmates come here on the days they give out commodities. We met a few and one of the ladies who works here suggested that maybe this would be a good program for them," said Sherry Price, a case manager for Team Dad in Sevier and Monroe Counties.

Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens believes the program can help rehabilitate some of the men.

"A lot of folks don't believe that some folks can be rehabilitated. I do think that people do have hope and they can be rehabilitated and it's very important that we do at least try," he said.

Sheriff Bivens said the jail is over-crowded.

91% of those behinds bars at Monroe County Jail are repeat offenders.

Those with Team Dad can continue the program once they are released from jail.

"We can direct them. If it's something that we can't do here for them, we put them in touch with a resource that can. We're really their sounding block," Price said.

Class starts next Thursday.

The first group will graduate from the program in May.

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