The New York City Department of Correction (DOC) is the second largest municipal jail system in the United States. It provides for the care, custody and control of adolescents, 16 to 18 years of age, and adults, 19 years of age and older, accused of crimes or convicted and sentenced to incarceration for one year or less. The Department consists of 14 jails, including ten detention centers on Rikers Island and four borough houses of detention, and in addition, two hospital prison wards and court detention facilities in the city’s five boroughs. The Department handles approximately 100,000 admissions and releases each year and manages an average daily population of 13,000-plus inmates.
The Department understands the complex nature of the impact incarceration has on families. Children and their incarcerated fathers are able to access services that enable them to maintain and strengthen their relationships during their incarceration and upon re-entry to the community. DOC has advanced initiatives to create opportunities for positive family engagement that includes fathers.
The Department of Correction (DOC) has implemented a “Daddy and Me” program, a five-week literacy course at several jails on Rikers Island. Arranged in conjunction with the Administration for Children’s Services, this initiative encourages incarcerated fathers to connect to their children through reading. The men record themselves reading children’s books onto a CD, so that their sons and daughters are able to hear their fathers read bedtime stories. Special reading time, in which the children visit their fathers in jail, has also been arranged. “Daddy and Me” is a pioneer program which DOC plans to expand, along with its fatherhood workshops and parenting classes for young fathers detained in Department of Juvenile Justice facilities.
For more information about DOC and the Daddy and Me program click here.
Read the New York Times article on the Daddy and Me Reading program.