MU Prison Program Strengthens Family Ties
University of Missouri Extension's 4-H program, 4-H LIFE, helps both inmates and their children.
Prison isn’t normally thought of as a place to nurture family growth, but one weekend each month dozens of sons, daughters, mothers and grandmothers travel across the state for that very reason.
The program works to help both inmates and their children learn skills that will help them succeed in life, both inside and outside of prison walls.
“4-H LIFE just opens up the door to communicate, to be able to address issues that we wouldn’t be able to address in another setting,” said Judy Henderson, an inmate at the Chillicothe Correctional Center. “It lets me see a different side of them that I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to see because of the kind of sentence I’m serving.”
That experience is one of the goals of 4-H LIFE, which stands for Living Interactive Family Education. Inmates meet weekly to tackle topics like anger management, parenting, communication and other life skills. They discuss their values as well as how their life decisions led them to where they are today. When their families come once a month, they have the opportunity to be a positive influence on them.