Inmates spend holiday time with family

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Santa spread a little holiday cheer Friday in one of Baton Rouge's gloomiest places.

"It's a time to get together, for family to spend together and share good family moments," said Ashley Chaney.

It's the holiday season, a time for toys and cheer. For some families, it is also a reunion. The East Baton Rouge Parish Prison is normally a gloomy place, but for some inmates it was a happy day.

"It's a blessing," said Nefrititi Smith. "I'm enjoying every last moment, every last moment."

"It's something I can't even explain," said Courtney Brown. "It's not easy to be in here," Chaney added.

The inmates given to opportunity to spend time with their families so close to Christmas have worked all year on bettering themselves through one of the prison's 19 self-help workshops. They have worked on things like self-esteem, decision-making and addiction. They have been learning about themselves and how to stay on the straight and narrow when they get out.

"Life is about choices. This jail thing, they broke me. They don't ever have to worry about me coming back," Smith explained.

As a reward, the inmates got to share some holiday cheer with their families.

"It feels good to be able to see the smile on their faces, to get them something for Christmas," said Brown.

"I just want to be home with her to share all these memories together," said Chaney.

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