D.C.

D.C. court program reunites convict fathers with children

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At 4-years-old, Javaontay Morris and his siblings like having their dad around. Thanks to an initiative from the D.C. Superior Court, he gets to do more of just that.

As Father's Day approaches, some D.C. dads are getting the chance to do something that for many is very ordinary, but for them, was at one point out of reach.

For Darnell Morris, an ex-prison inmate who has two small sons and a teenage daughter, the program that helps fathers find jobs and pay their child support has been a boon for his relationship with his kids.

Since the program began four years ago, only about one-third of the ex-offenders who entered the program, which includes training in job hunting and child rearing, managed to finish it. However, for those who have graduated, officials say there's very little recitivism.

"They're connected to their child in a way that they just do not want to forfeit by the behavior that took them to jail," Judge Milton Lee, who runs the program, said.

Another man who went through the program, Antwan Turner, can't stand the thought of being separated from his two daughters again. Turner, who went to prison for selling drugs, now works at a hotel and sees his teenage and 7-year-old daughters regularly.

"I'm just glad to have my kids here with me," Turner said. "I'm glad to be alive. I'm glad to have my mother backing me now."

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