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State Hopeful Education Can Help End Cycle Behind Bars

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CLINTON TOWNSHIP -- Officials at the State Correctional Institute at Muncy in Lycoming County are showing off ways the state and county are working to prevent a new generation from ending up at the facility.


Inmates who have children believe their jobs as mothers don't stop because they are serving time. The women say just because they are in prison doesn't mean they are bad parents.

The corrections facility is giving families programs and education to help a new generation whose parents are behind bars.

"Well, Mila will get every dish out and pretend like she is making food. Usually, she gets all the stuffed animals from over there out too," said inmate Kristen Woods.

Beyond the playground where Kristen Woods' kids can play there is a large fence wrapped in wire.

"Coming here started with decisions that started a long time ago so I kind of like brought it all together by telling him. I never intended on coming here to prison," said Woods.

Woods sat with dozens of others as the state corrections secretary and his staff discussed the importance of setting aside money in the budget for early education.

"What if we could spend money way before anybody comes in here," said Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. "This isn't about keeping kids out of prison, which will happen. This is about giving kids the opportunity to become doctors and lawyers."

A part of their goal is to make sure people know what programs are out there. The Department of Corrections hopes to set up more of these resource centers.

"The cool part about this, and what this is, is a series of brochures of existing programs that are available today," said Wetzel.

Officials hope with the proper education there will be fewer people incarcerated in the future. For the women that are already here and have children, there are programs set up to help them keep connected, like Project Impact.

"To her it's sort of like a fun day with mommy, and I look forward to it. The night before the visits I sort of can't sleep because I am so excited," said inmate Korvana Price.

Korvana price talks with her 7-year-old daughter Kamora every day. Like most moms, she wants what's best for her daughter and knows that means leading by example.

"I'm able to tell my child 'Mommy got her diploma' so you know this is what you have to do in order to graduate high school," said Korvana.

Click here for more information on the Child Resource Center.

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