'Kids corner' at Boyle Co. jail motivates incarcerated parents

Published: Oct. 31, 2018 at 6:12 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

A fresh coat of paint and a bag of toys are changing some things at the Boyle County Detention Center.

It’s certainly no place for a child, yet hundreds of them end up at the jail just the same, visiting Mom or Dad. But the Boyle County Detention Center recently created a "kids corner" in their lobby over the last year as a way to motivate incarcerated parents who are away from their children.

Boyle County jail inmate Samantha Followell is one of the many incarcerated parents who battle drug addiction, but she says she’s motivated to do better each time she sees her 4-year-old daughter on video visitation.

"If I didn't get to see her every week, and get to see her smile and get excited about coming to see me, then I wouldn't be motivated to stay clean,” Followell said. “She says that mommy's stuck in the T.V.”

So to protect that innocence and motivate incarcerated parents, the jail gives each child a bag of toys during their visit. So far, the jail has handed out about 500 of them.

They say it keeps antsy children entertained during the visit, which leads to longer visits and better quality time.

“She'll talk to me for a few minutes, and then she goes and plays, so then me and my mom get time to talk,” said Followell about her daughter.

All of the toys and upgrades were donated by local churches. They continue to keep the gift bags stocked, and jail workers say they don’t plant to stop the program anytime soon.