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While you might not think about it, hundreds of dads will spend Father’s Day inside the Norfolk City Jail.

“The reality is knowing that I wasn’t a good father because of the choices I made,” one inmate said.

Sheriff McCabe wanted to give inmates a chance to become better dads, so he invited a volunteer to jail: Substance Abuse Counselor Greg Thomas.

“I have a love for people. This is my purpose, my passion,” Thomas said.

Following his heart, Thomas decided to volunteer to launch a new fatherhood class inside the Norfolk City Jail. He visits inmates twice a week, leading two-hour-classes divided into 16 sessions as part of the “InsideOut Dad” program.

One inmate said the classes helped him overcome the guilt he felt for being incarcerated and not being there for his children.

“I felt that I let them down, and I held onto a lot of guilt, which allowed my relationship to grow further apart,” the inmate remarked.

More than two million children in the United States have parents in jail, according to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse. Research also shows most incarcerated dads return home without guidance on reconnecting with their kids. Sheriff McCabe is hoping to help these families rise above.

“The feedback I’m getting from the men is that his program was needed. It taught them to become better fathers, and taught them a lot about themselves,” Thomas said.

The curriculum focuses on self-awareness, having a father address issues in his past to overcome anger and grief. There are also sessions to help fathers develop a plan reconnecting with their children.

So far, about ten incarcerated fathers have finished the new program, and they are moving forward with a new outlook on life.

“Everybody makes mistakes. Everyone falls, but it’s all about how you get back up,” an inmate said.

The “InsideOut Dad” program comes from the National Fatherhood Initiative, and Sheriff McCabe thanks Thomas for leading the program.

Thomas is a certified Post-Traumatic-Stress Disorder, Substance Abuse Counselor, Master Anger Management Specialist, Conflict Resolution Specialist, and Fatherhood Initiative Facilitator. He is a consultant at Hampton University as a Manager of the Promise Program, which concentrates on assisting “At Risk” youth in the community.

Sheriff McCabe was so impressed with Thomas’s success in launching this new program that he hired him to expand programs and opportunities for inmates inside the Norfolk City Jail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pursuing a career in law enforcement takes a special type of person, with a passion to serve.

For Benjamin Steele, that calling came when he was 12 years old, and involved in a hunting accident.

“This encounter proved to be the event that confirmed within me the necessity for knowledgeable law enforcement officers and investigators to protect the safety of all hunters,” he wrote.

Christina Hensley was a victim of an assault herself. “If I could convince one victim to press charges, it would make my career in law enforcement worth it. People should be held accountable for their actions,” she wrote.

The Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute strives to support outstanding students majoring in criminal justice with annual scholarships. Sheriff McCabe was proud to present three Norfolk college students with $1,000 scholarships from the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute.

Both Steele and Hensley were grateful for the encouragement as they finish their degrees at Old Dominion University and Tidewater Community College, respectively. Sheriff McCabe mailed the scholarship to DeShara Parker who is majoring in criminal justice at Virginia State, but is working in North Carolina for the summer.

The VSI scholarships require that the applicants are majoring in criminal justice at a Virginia college.

Ask the Sheriff: How Police Brutality Coverage is affecting Hampton Roads

July 23rd, 2015 8:30 a.m.

Town Point Club in Downtown Norfolk

RSVP 757.625.6606

101 W. Main St. Ste 300, Norfolk, VA 23510

With all the recent national news on police protests and controversies, Town Point Club thought it would be relevant to have Sheriff Bob McCabe speak about how the coverage is affecting law enforcement.Please join the discussion during a breakfast at Town Point Club, Thursday, July 23rd 8:30 a.m.

After Town Point Club’s invitation, Sheriff McCabe started a social media conversation to answer your questions and concerns.

The coverage is already impacting law enforcement officers on a daily basis: from how they are treated by the public to how they respond to calls.

Are local police having more trouble recruiting officers? Are officers fearful of making arrests? How will this affect my safety?

Post your questions on our Facebook page, and Sheriff McCabe will answer them at the forum at Town Point Club in Norfolk, Thursday July 23rd.

The breakfast is free for Town Point Club members and $5 for non-members, RSVP 757.625.6606.

We hope you’ll join us to be part of this discussion. We will be “Live Tweeting” the event; follow @NorfSheriffPIO and the hashtag #HRpolice. You can follow our conversation live over Twitter as it happens, and give us feedback. If you’re in the audience, please retweet and share your thoughts with hashtag #HRpolice.

Your input will help our local law enforcement teams brainstorm to find solutions to keep our neighborhoods safe.

Sheriff McCabe has more than 30 years experience in law enforcement, as a corrections officer, police officer and Sheriff.

A Norfolk student received his standard high school diploma for the first time in the Norfolk City Jail’s history.

Javonta Norfleet had one semester left to finish at Booker T. Washington, when he was charged with robbery, and sentenced to serve three years.

Where one might see a disappointing situation, Teacher Donita Gordon saw hope. She worked with graduation coach Stephanie Hazell at Booker T. Washington to bring all of Norfleet’s assignments to jail.

This partnership between Norfolk Public Schools and the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office started in 2001 with the “No Child Left Behind Act.”

While several students have earned their GEDs and special diplomas in jail, Gordon wanted to take the program a step further. She wanted Norfleet to earn his standard diploma, where a student must earn at least 22 credits and pass all SOL tests.grad4

“Javonta worked tirelessly, night and day. Surprisingly, he received a lot of encouragement from other inmates. They would walk by and give him the fist pump,” Gordon said.

While working with Norfleet, Gordon realized his brother was also graduating from Booker T. Washington this year. “These brothers will graduate from Booker T. at two different locations, but both will receive the same diploma,” Gordon remarked.

A graduation ceremony was held inside the Norfolk City Jail on June 11th, where a Regent University Professor encouraged the students to continue with their education.

Eight other incarcerated students received special diplomas, meaning they can attend vocational school and can work on earning their GEDs.

Norfleet has one more year left to serve on his sentence, but he plans to enroll in Tidewater Community College as soon as he is released.

His teacher hopes his story will serve as a lesson for others.

“Other youth need to know you can get off track, but your life and fate isn’t over yet. You have an opportunity to get back on track,” Gordon said.

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