For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
New Support Group Helps Parents of Inmates at Atlantic County Jail
Guilt. Shame. Humiliation. Anger. Disappointment. These are but a few of the emotions experienced by parents whose children are incarcerated. But instead of hiding these feelings, they now have a support group to help them address their pain and anxiety.
The Parent to Parent Support Group was initiated in March as an off shoot of the discharge planning program at the Atlantic County Justice Facility that helps transition inmates upon their return to their communities by giving them access to local resources.
But the need to assist not only the inmates but their parents soon became apparent to jail officials.
"Many parents tell me of the guilt they experience as a direct result of their child being incarcerated," explained Warden Joseph Bondiskey. "Because drug addiction often leads to an arrest and jail time, parents sometimes feel very alone and isolated. The purpose of this group is to provide parents with access to available local resources and help them to recognize that there are many people in similar situations."
The group meets once a month and discusses guilt, anxiety, substance abuse and depression as well as the coping skills and resources available to help them deal with these issues. Members also gain insight into their own strengths and abilities.
The group is moderated by a licensed clinical social worker and a parent of an incarcerated inmate. The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 12 at 7:30 PM at the Inmate Services offices at the Atlantic County Justice Facility, 5060 Atlantic Avenue, Mays Landing.
For more information, call John McLernon at (609) 909-7546