NY Daily News features Osborne's Fatherhood program at Sing Sing

25 November 2018

Father's Day comes every Sunday for a group of dads in prison

By JULIANNA HERNANDEZ and 

NOV 25, 2018 | 6:00 AM

Father's Day is every Sunday for a group of prisoners in Sing Sing.

Men can spend up to six hours with their children and partners inside a specially designed visiting room filled with toys and art activities.

"Regardless of where they are doesn't make them a bad parent," said Brenda Maietta, who runs the Osborne Association's FamilyWorks program at the Ossining, Westchester County, maximum-security prison .

"When our gentlemen go on visits with their children that's six hours of uninterrupted attention that they give them, especially in the day with video games and phones," she added.

The Family Works program is 16 two-hour sessions where the men are taught the importance of building relationships with their children.

A touching ceremony marked the graduation of 45 fathers earlier this month.

"There is no judge and jury that is harder on you than your families," said Elizabeth Gaynes, the founder of the Osborne Association.

The nonprofit has similar classes in nine prisons throughout the state. At Sing Sing, there's a 150-person waiting list for the popular course, according to Maietta.

The graduation — and the Sunday visits — are always bittersweet.

"Some of these guys are never going to go home but that doesn't mean that they are not going to be part of their growing up," Maietta said. "We encourage them to write and call their children consistently. And to be open with them."

Alfred Roberts, who is behind bars for murder, said the classes taught him "unadulterated communication" with his older children is a good thing.

"I've learned not to put filters on when I'm speaking to my children," Roberts, 43, said after the ceremony. "They understand me better."

Among the graduates on Nov. 7, was Gary Dubois, 42, who was thankful to learn about how to be a better father.

[...]

For the full article and to see photos from the event, please visit the NY Daily News at https://nydn.us/2BxabpF.