news & perspectives

news & perspectives

incarcerated dads becoming the fathers they want to be

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Ten incarcerated fathers graduated this week from the 12-week Nurturing Fathers Program at the Hampshire County House of Correction.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette covered the emotional graduation ceremony, where the ten men took to the podium to describe the father they choose to be:

Jason Gonzales and his fiancee, Ashley Savoie, sat cuddling their 5-month-old daughter Zamari. Gonzales’ mom, Digna, also sat with the little family, while the couple’s 7- and 10-year-old daughters were at home.

“It’s a blessing to be here with my mom, my fiancee and my daughter,” Gonzales said. “I want to be more patient, more proactive. Life’s not easy, and I want to support and encourage my daughters.”

Savoie joked that Gonzales now calls her and says they’ve been “parenting all wrong” and passes along the things he’s learned.

“I think a lot of families should have access to programs like this,” Gonzales said. “This program is just awesome. It lets you touch base with an inner part of yourself you didn’t even know existed.”

Jason Gonzales, who is an inmate at the Hampshire County Jail, holds his daughter, Zamari, 5 months, during a graduation ceremony for the Nurturing Fathers program, Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at the jail. —GAZETTE STAFF/JERREY ROBERTS

Northwestern District Attorney and Children's Trust Board Member David Sullivan helped start the program and has attended every graduation.

“Fathers being engaged with their children is the number one thing you can do for rehabilitation,” Sullivan said. “My one piece of advice is this: Have a picture of your kid or kids in your wallet. That’s your compass.”

Read the full article and see video from the event here.