By Lt. Everardo Silva, AA/PIO

Calipatria State Prison

Two dozen maximum-security inmates from Facility C and D at Calipatria State Prison made recordings earlier this month of children’s books that will be mailed to the inmate’s child or children.

It was part of the Place4Grace’s Father2Child Literacy Project, which is modeled after the national program created by Hope House-District of Columbia. Place4Grace sent more than 600 books to fathers incarcerated with CDCR, many at Calipatria State Prison.

Inmates from Facility A and B will make similar recordings on May 20.

Warden (A) W. L. Montgomery praised the program, which is in its third year at the prison.

“This project not only promotes literacy in both child and father, but it provides much needed comfort to children who have been left behind during their parent’s incarceration,” he said.

Karen McDaniel, executive director of Place4Grace and coordinator of the event, said funding from the Imperial County Children and Families Commission allowed continuation of the Father2Child Literacy Program at the prison.

“The focus goal is to end the cycle of incarceration by stressing the importance of reading, which is fundamental to school success. Every child loves to have daddy read to them, therefore, this program benefits child, parent and in the end, our communities by building better fathers and emotionally healthy children,” McDaniel said.

One of the inmates making a recording was Damien Hodges, who read “Think Again” by rapper Doug E. Fresh. The book is about two children, one black and one white, who become friends, even though they are bullied for making friends across racial lines.

At the end, Hodges rapped to his son who lives in Chicago: “Now we have to learn how to treat each other and never judge anyone based on color.  We should treat girls like sisters and guys like brothers. We can work together and respect one another.”

As he finished, Hodges said, “This is an important message.”

Photo's of  Father2Child Literacy Inmate Damien Hodges

Inmate Damien Hodges prepares to record a book for his son.