Since I am from Ohio and most of my family lives there, I still keep up with the news. Accordingly, I have tracked from afar the trial of convicted serial killer, Anthony Sowell, who raped and murdered 11 women...that they know of. You can read about his sentencing hearing here but note the below passage from the article.
"A social worker, Lori James-Townes, testified for the defense that Sowell had an "extremely horrible" childhood marked by abuse and an absent father and saw nieces whipped almost daily, adding up to a home environment that "had a horrific cumulative effect" on him. She narrated a family tree going back generations that included sexual abuse, absent fathers, health problems, drug abuse and mental illness."
A few months ago, I visited Angola prison in Louisiana, which is the nation's largest maximum security prison. It sits on about 15,000 acres and houses over 5,000 inmates, 4,000 serving life sentences and the rest serving sentences averaging 99 years. Despite these circumstances, they are running the InsideOut Dad program, NFI's program for incarcerated fathers. You see, most of these men are fathers and most of them grew up without fathers and their biggest fear is that their children will follow them to prison. InsideOut Dad helps them break the cycle by teaching them to be better father, despite being in prison.
In any case, I will never forget a conversation that I had with one of the guys. He is serving a life sentence with no parole for first-degree murder. He came to Angola when he was just 17 and has been there for 18 years and he has a 18-year-old son.
Interestingly, he told me that this was not his first time at Angola. He came through the gates of the prison as a 7-year-old boy to meet his father for the first time in the prison's visiting room. He offered that he has a twin brother who is also in prison. Indeed, prison is his family's legacy and he wanted to change this for his son.
This is why I, along with the NFI team, work so hard, despite the obstacles. Children's lives are at stake and, as the story of Anthony Sowell attests, people are dying because of father absence.
But there is hope.
I ask that you will take just a few minutes to click here to watch this short video about how NFI's work broke a prison legacy and saved a child from a possible life of crime and abuse.
Then, I hope that you will click here to support NFI's life saving work. We could really use your help now.