A father who is locked in does not mean he should be locked out of his daughter's life
In 2012, the father-daughter dance at the Richmond City Jail was born.
It was the brainchild of Angela Patton(pictured above), who runs Camp Diva, a Richmond nonprofit aimed at empowering young girls. She had heard the concerns of a daughter who had a father in jail. The young girl wanted to attend an event where she could dance with her father too, like others girls and their fathers across the city.
Patton convinced Richmond City Sheriff C. T. Woody Jr. to host the dance inside the jail, and he agreed.
“They are not hard core criminals, they deserve a second chance,” Woody said. “And they can be very good citizens and the best way to make a good citizen is to make good fathers.”
Woody says he agreed because he feels that inmates who are allowed to dance with their daughters will be reminded why they should never return to jail once they’re released.
“I did this because I know how important family is. Someone saved me. I haven’t always been a law-abiding, law enforcement officer,” Woody said.
Hours before the dance, the men expected to meet their daughters are brought suits and dress shoes to their jail cells. Some of them are wearing a tie for the first time. Outside of their orange jumpsuits, they look like everyday men.
When the big moment arrives, the young girls in brightly colored dresses are escorted down the drab and dreary halls of the jail. When they walk past the solid steel mechanical doors, the fathers waiting on the other side start to cry. The young girls bounce across the hall and into their fathers’ arms.
The dance itself only lasts for a few hours, but in that short time, the young girls have real moments with their fathers.
When the men do time, their daughters do time, and they told us they plan to never let that happen to the girls again.
Angela Patton is trying to make sure this continues to be an annual event.
Do you think this is a good event to continue annually?