(KLFY) — Seven Louisiana mothers are reuniting with their children this Christmas, thanks, in part, to the kindness of strangers.
Now, they say this holiday is more like a second chance.
Matt Houston has more from the East Baton Rouge Parish prison.
“I thought I was going to have to sit for a while.”
There is no cheer, here.
“I thought this was the end at first, but i knew better.”
No trees, ornaments, or tinsel. No family, only barbed wire.
“The worst feeling in the world for a mother to be separated from her kids, you know?”
And Lanice Nolbert knows.
“That’s an area I don’t want to relive or you know, that’s it.”
Plenty like her will spend Christmas behind bars… not convicted, but accused of nonviolent crimes and not able to pay bail.
And while their families make what they can of the holidays, those folks sit alone.
“It’s time you don’t get back.”
“This is a system that punishes people because they’re poor. They’ve just been accused of something.”
It’s why attorney Alaina Boothe and so many others from local organizations like YWCA raised money to do this:
Seven single moms, two of whom are pregnant, are going home – bonded out of the parish prison by strangers for Christmas.
“I talked to my little girl this morning and she was so excited.”
But they’re returning to their boys and girls with help.
Boxes of everyday essentials and a commitment to stay in touch through programs to help their families start again.
“I’m going to be a better mom.”
“We want to find out what brought you to this situation to begin with and then how do we help you get on your feet and prevent it ever happening again.”
And for their especially-vulnerable children, today is a new chance at stability, their mothers would tell you it’s an opportunity to slow a destructive cycle that’s already ruined too many holidays in Baton Rouge.
And that process starts, not here (prison), but at home.
“I know I’ve changed. I’ve changed not just for myself, but for my kids.”