Share “Survey results show Oklahoma Messages...”

Survey results show Oklahoma Messages Program DVDs may help fight the cycle of incarceration

Nonprofit Redeeming the Family in Oklahoma connects children with incarcerated parents through DVDs, other events
By Paighten Harkins, Staff Writer Modified: August 2, 2014 at 7:17 pm •  Published: August 4, 2014
Advertisement

When Jenny was sick with strep throat around Christmas last year, nothing made her feel better except a DVD she’d received from her mom, who was incarcerated at the time.

From her sickbed on the couch, Jenny followed along with the video and watched as her mom read her a book.

The video made Jenny feel better, said Cheri Fuller, executive director of Redeeming the Family, a nonprofit that provides support to children in Oklahoma whose parents are incarcerated.

“Over and over, we hear children say it felt like my mother was in the room,” Fuller said.

Jenny (not her real name) is one of an estimated 7,071 children whose mothers are currently incarcerated in Oklahoma prisons, according to the state Department of Corrections annual report for fiscal year 2012. Oklahoma incarcerates 121 women per 100,000 people, compared with the national average, which is 65.

Redeeming the Family officials say research has shown that when a child’s parent is incarcerated, the child is more likely to become depressed or suicidal and is more likely to perform poorly in school or be arrested.

The nonprofit aims to change that cycle through the Oklahoma Messages Program, which brings volunteers into prisons to film mothers and fathers talking to their children and reading them a book.

According to the program’s most recent survey results, designed by Fuller and University of Oklahoma professor David McLeod, the videos are changing children’s outcomes and outlooks.

According to the outcome survey, 81 percent of children experienced moderate to huge increases in sadness and depression after their parent was incarcerated, and 84 percent experienced a moderate to huge increase in stress and anxiety.

After viewing the DVDs, 65 percent of children said their sadness and depression decreased, and 54 percent had less anger and acted out less, according to the survey.

Bridging a gap

Continue reading this story on the...


At a glance

How to help

To donate, go to redeemingthefamily.org or send money to Redeeming the Family, The Messages Project, P.O. Box 8073, Edmond, OK 73083.

Making a difference

After a parent was arrested or incarcerated:

81 percent of children experienced moderate to huge increases in sadness or depression.

84 percent of children experienced moderate to huge increases in stress or anxiety.

60 percent of children experienced moderate to huge increases in number of nightmares.

After watched a DVD from their parent:

65 percent of children had moderate to huge decreases in sadness and depression.

54 percent of children had moderate to huge improvements in anger issues or acting out.

71 percent of children were less worried about their parents.

68 percent of children moderate to huge improvements in stress and anxiety.

Source: Oklahoma Message Project

2013-14 outcome survey

Over and over, we hear children say it felt like my mother was in the room.”executive director of Redeeming the Family

Cheri Fuller,,
Cheri Fuller,executive director of Redeeming the Family

Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Happy day: Elton John, David Furnish marry in England
  2. 2
    Twelve Weeks To A Six-Figure Job
  3. 3
    New York Pain Clinic Doctor Is Sentenced in Overdose Deaths of 2 Patients
  4. 4
    Time Lapse: Amsterdam Light Festival
  5. 5
    Baby Jesus gets GPS
+ show more