Letters to the Editor

Reformed Church reforms inmates

On behalf of the inmates at the Island County Jail I wish to publicly acknowledge the generous contribution presented to the inmates by the First Reformed Church (FRC) of Oak Harbor.

Rehabilitation is not one-size fits all but consists of multiple facets tailored to meet the inmate’s needs. Not the least of these needs is the inmate’s ability to maintain contact with their loved ones, especially their children, an avenue to express themselves, and a means to further their education.

For the second year the congregation of FRC has proved faithful to their jail ministry. FRC’s latest contribution provided cards for all occasions, children’s books, art paper and colored pencils, writing paper, envelopes, and stamps. These items are distributed among the inmates, beginning with the indigent, to encourage their initial and sustained connection with family while incarcerated. A note card or birthday card with a smiley little picture drawn by mom or dad means a lot to a child whose parents may be absent for an extended period.

Operating within budget can result in a diminished capacity to provide educational and non-essential recreational material. Included in this year’s donation were board games, jigsaw puzzles, books, magazines, subscriptions to men’s and women’s magazines, offers to pay for GED schooling material, as well as for Food Handler’s Certification classes.

This contribution is significant. The materials provided may appear trivial to those who enjoy their freedom, but to the incarcerated it sends a strong message that the community cares about their continued welfare. This outward demonstration of concern leads many to the path of rehabilitation thereby becoming contributing members in our community.

William F. ‘De’ Dennis

Chief Deputy-Jail Administrator

Island County

Sheriff’s Office

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