Prison ministry allows inmates to share holiday spirit with their kids

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The countdown to Christmas is on. Most families are decorating and shopping now but for families with loved ones behind bars, the season does not always seem so jolly. A group called "Insight for Inmates" is trying to change this for hundreds of children.

Kisses, cookies and Santa and Mrs. Claus meant Saturday was Christmas for 150 inmates at Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women and more than 200 of their children and grandchildren.

"As you can see today, it's chaotic but it's fun chaos. The mothers are excited. The kids are excited," said Ej Matlock with Insight for Inmates.

The Matlock family started this annual event 18 years ago. With the help of several area charities and churches, they are able to give hundreds of Christmas gifts to these children.

"90 percent of these children, this is their Christmas. This is it. Because they either live with their grandma that's on a fixed income or an aunt or an uncle or something to where they don't get Christmas like most children," said Matlock.

For these mothers, grandmothers and children, the presents and sweet treats are not even the best part about this party.

"I got to have time with my nana," said Tristan Gentile, celebrating Christmas with his grandmother.

"It's just the fact that we're all here, and we're able to interact with each other. It's the holiday spirit," said Patricia Jackson, an inmate celebrating Christmas with her daughter.

Matlock says she and her husband made this special Christmas their family's legacy, and the ladies here are grateful for the holiday blessing.

"It helps me to maintain a bond not with just my children, but now with my I'm able to maintain a bond with my grandchildren," said Angela Stokes, an inmate celebrating Christmas with her grandchildren.

For more information to help the Matlock family with their prison ministry, visit click here.

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