HOFFMAN — Being behind bars hasn’t kept the men at Morrison Correctional Institution from catching the Christmas spirit.
This year, the men’s clubs for the minimum- and medium-security sections of the prison donated $500 each to sponsor six foster children.
“They’ve always tried to give back to the community,” corrections case manager Janet Butler said Thursday. By donating money at Christmas, “they know that they can make some children happy each year.”
The men have collected money for Christmas contributions to the community for each of the past 15 years, Butler said — sometimes to Toys for Tots but often to foster children.
“A lot of these guys have been in foster care and can relate to that,” Butler said.
Though the minimum-security inmates can leave the prison for roadwork, shopping is not on the approved list of their activities, so prison employees actually bought the bikes and baby dolls, and delivered them to Richmond County’s Department of Social Services office in Rockingham.
Morrison Correctional actually contains two prisons, one for minimum-security prisoners aged 18 to 26 and one for medium-security inmates, most of whom are 26 and older and have committed more serious crimes, Butler said.
The men’s clubs — each called the Social Interaction Development club — comprise prisoners with records of leadership and good behavior. The men raise money for projects by selling special foods, as well as photographs they take during family visits to the prison.
They collect the money all year, deciding in November who will benefit. This year, they provided gifts for six children being fostered in two families.
Normally, the men don’t collect enough for big-ticket items such as bicycles, but this year they were able to move beyond just toys and clothes for each child, buying three bikes, a child’s Bible, dolls and other items the children had requested, Butler said.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or firstname.lastname@example.org.