Inmates learn to be better fathers and ease back into society 

Posted at 9:16 AM, Mar 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-18 13:03:41-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Some inmates in the Richmond Justice Center said they were changed men because of behavior modification programs they participated in while behind bars.

"I'm going to be honest with you, this program - even at 41 years old -  helped me reach a whole new level of manhood because of the responsibilities I'm faced with on a day to day basis," Markeeth Woody, inmate and REAL program graduate, said.

On Wednesday, Sheriff C.T. Woody, Jr. hosted the inaugural celebration and graduation of the REAL Program, which focuses on fighting addiction, and New Beginnings to Fatherhood, that focuses on relationships and the family unit.  Over 20 men graduated from the REAL Program and 13 men from New Beginnings to Fatherhood.

Sarah Scarbrough, Internal Program Director at the Justice Center, said the graduates spent eight to 12 hours in a classroom setting every day, for months. They completed homework assignments every night and went at least 60 days without behavior issues. The inmates said they were proud of themselves. They said their biggest accomplishments were the changes they saw in their character.

"On a personal level the program has helped me to respect boundaries. I am 41 years old and this is not my first time incarcerated.  One of my main problems in society was that I did not have a lot of respect for boundaries," Woody explained.

"The program helped me identify what the actual problem was - how I was thinking - I had a distorted thinking because of how I came up.  So now that I understand exactly how I was going wrong, I can be a better father for my daughter,” REAL & Fatherhood program graduate Pavel Moselley, said.