Over the weekend, the Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI) minimum facility hosted a Father’s Day event where adults in custody (AICs) could wear regular clothes while celebrating the day with friends and family. Snake River had five AICs and fifteen visitors participate in the event, which was combined with a luncheon.
Visitors were glad to see their family members in civilian clothes for the first time in years, as it made the day feel more normal. The AICs who participated said that while it felt weird to be dressed in regular clothes, it was also an exciting opportunity for them. Three of the families who visited for the event traveled more than six hours to see their loved ones.
One of SRCI’s AIC artists created and donated a large Father’s Day card that was raffled off to one lucky visitor–the song of AIC Chandler Olson. Olson had not seen his son since last summer since he lives in Washington state, and the visit was made even more special by the raffle win.
To those of us in the community, it may seem like a small thing to visit with family in civilian clothes instead of the state-issued uniform provided to AICs, but this seemingly small gesture provided by SRCI gives AICs a sense of dignity and normality. It allows them to see themselves as complex individuals capable of change and growth, rather than just another number in the system.
Thank you to the team at SRCI for the great work they are doing to prepare AICs to be better neighbors when they re-enter our Oregon communities.