Convict dads still involved

I just read an item about how 50 prisoners from Sing Sing (actually, New York state’s Ossining prison) graduated from in-house parenting courses. The idea is to make them better dads both while they’re locked up and when they get back home.

In my neighborhood, one of the most doting dads I’d known growing up was a guy who’d spent more than a few months locked up for disorderly conduct, receiving stolen goods, and other small crimes. So how can you know what kind of parent a person ultimately makes?

Once, I visited a women’s prison in Ohio for a story I was doing about overcrowding in the facility.

I met some serious hard cases among the convicts. Then I was introduced to a sweet-looking elderly inmate whose cell more closely resembled a grandmother’s room in a retirement home than that of a rough woman’s penal quarters. There were rugs, quilts and photos everywhere.

Surely, she had doting children pining for her return. “I’m afraid not, dear,” the kindly looking lady said to me, half-smiling. “Forty years ago, I murdered my entire family.”

Bravo to the Sing Sing cons. I wish them good luck and supportive children.