Illinois Summer Camp Program Unites Jailed Moms With Their Children

(CBS) — Some children are getting ready to leave for a summer camp that’s unlike most others.

Forty-seven youngsters are getting ready to visit their moms in prison.

The “Mom and Me Summer Camp” began 15 years ago at the Lincoln Correctional Center.

It has moved to women’s prisons in Logan and Decatur, which is in its 10th year.

Warden Shelith Hansbro says the four-day camp allows the moms to reconnect with their children, which helps the women as they transition to life outside of prison.

She says the kids — between the ages of 7 and 12 — spend time with their moms during the day at special rooms at the prisons. Then they go back to a campground in Bloomington for the night.

Forty percent of Decatur’s prison population is from Chicago and the suburbs, according to Hansbro.

She says many of the kids have never camped before, and meeting other children of inmates allows them to be themselves without worry of teasing.

The program is run by volunteers and is paid for through private donations.

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