Stockton prisons are now allowing incarcerated parents to read stories to their children through audio recordings.
Jevon Sanford, a California Youth Authority ward, is among these parents. The 21-year-old is currently serving a four-year sentence.
“Hello baby, this is Daddy right here," Sanford says. "I’m going to read you a story, I hope you like it.”
He is reading a book about princesses to his 3-year-old daughter.
“That’s what I see when I see the book: beautiful princesses and that’s what my daughter is to me,” Sanford says.
He and about half dozen other youth offenders are reading books, of which a recording will be sent to their children.
“It’s very important for her to know who I am and when I get out she’s not like who is this man, I never heard his voice before, I don’t know who he is," Sanford says. "I’ve been gone for a couple of years now, so I felt it will bring us closer.”
Place for Grace Director Karen McDaniel has similar programs at 16 state prisons and now has launched the program at the CYA.
“And what you’re doing today is the single most important thing to break that cycle,” McDaniel says.
McDaniel says most of these dads had fathers who also served time.
“Keeping the incarcerated person, in this case, youth, connected with their children, there’s no better motivation than your own child to do the right thing,” McDaniel says.
For Jevon Sanford, his sentence is almost complete, and now he’s getting ready for a new chapter of life on the outside.
“That’s the end of the book, baby," Sanford says. "I miss you, I love you. I hoped you like the book.”