Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Inmates read to their children - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Taking Back Our Neighborhoods: Inmates read to their children

By Ursula Madden - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Women locked up at Shelby County's Jail East are using story time to keep a connection with their children, thanks to a couple who has been ministering to inmates for decades.

The Story Book Program has become a big project Hank and Pat Klosky.  Facilitated through the Catholic Diocese, the program brings children's books.  There, inmates pick a story for each child they have, and record their voice reading book.

Then, the Kloskys send the book and the recording to the child.

"I think it keeps them in touch with their parents," Pat Klosky said. "They can hear their parents voices - their mother's voice, rather.  It keeps them ready to greet their parents when they come home."

Currently, up to a dozen inmates participate in the Story Book Program each week.  However, inmates are only allowed to read and record a couple of times a year.

"Jessica," an inmate at Jail East, has a one-year-old son, and is grateful for the opportunity.

"I was very relieved to see that I could actually be a part of my son's life in a way that I didn't know I could," she said.

And according to Pat Klosky, as long as there's a need, she and her husband will keep going back to Jail East.

"The reason we got into prison ministry many years ago in the first place is because Father Rick Danzer was coming out and seeing the prisoners, not the jail, but the prison," she said. "One Sunday, he got up and he says, 'Jesus Christ wants you,' and I swear he pointed right at me and I said, 'Oh Lord, if this is what you want, this is what I'll do.'"

The couple has only two concerns: they wish they had a more modern way to record the voices, because most households don't have a cassette player anymore, an they wish more people would volunteer.

Right now, Jail East is the only place where inmates can get this service.  If you want to volunteer to help, call 901-373-1200.

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