New parenting program underway at the (Hancock) county jail

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Daily Reporter on 12/03/2022

HANCOCK COUNTY — The poster attached to the glass window hanging inside the inmate meeting room at the county jail was full of yellow sticky notes. The notes are attached to the “Goal Tree” poster, an inspirational reminder to inmates taking a parenting class that there are resources to help them interact better with their children.

“Learn how to not live in chaos and have a method for the madness,” one note written by inmate Tracie Rosson said. Another note stated, “My hope is to learn more about what my kids are doing in school and be a part of it.”

For Rosson, who has been in and out of jails for many years, it’s been almost eight years since she’s been able to be a parent to her children. But, thanks to the new parenting program offered at the county jail through the Hancock County Probation Department, Rosson is hoping her situation changes for the better when she is released from jail later this month.

“Before this class, I didn’t really know how to be a parent,” Rosson said. “This class has given me some real ‘aha’ moments and some real hope for the first time ever.”

That’s exactly what probation officer Tabitha Davis had in mind — helping inmates to become better parents — when she applied for a grant to get the program rolling at the county jail. Davis, along with fellow probation officers Lauren Schaler and Cameron Mayes, teach the 12-week class once a week. The class is offered separately for male and female inmates who want to change their lives and become better parents.

“I feel like things are going really well with the class,” Davis said. “So far, we’re seeing a pretty good completion and success rate, probably around 80%.”

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