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Family Connection offers resources, a place to stay for visitors who have a loved one in jail

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 2:23 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - You may have driven past a victorian home at 7th and Minnesota and wondered what they do inside.

Taking care of guests who stay at Family Connection is a labor of love for Lou Crockett. The home welcomes guests while they’re in town visiting a loved one behind bars. Establishing the home was born out of observation 25 years ago, as families arrived in Sioux Falls for a visit, with no money for a hotel room.

“Women and children were sleeping in their cars outside of the prison,” said Crockett.

Family connection started with one home at 7th and Minnesota, then added another close by.

“We’ve had guests from every state except for Maine and Hawaii, and from all over the world,” said Crockett.

Guests have basic questions about what it will be like during a prison visit.

“What they can do when they’re visiting, what they can take into the visiting room, what type of clothing that they can wear, how long they can stay, what do they do with their valuables those types of things,” said Crockett.

The support goes deeper than that. Counseling is available through programs offered to kids in Sioux Falls public schools to help them process having someone they love in jail. Family Connection is supported in part by the United Way.

“Most inmates are going to get out at some time and be able to keep those family connections strong is so important for when they’re reunited with their family,” said Crockett.

In 2016 Family Connection formed a transitional home for women. The Hope House.

“To get back into the normal cycle of living and be a productive member of society,” said Crockett.

More help is needed for paid counselors, and volunteers.

“We’re looking for counselors for the children’s connection program. We’re looking for any volunteers that might have some labor skills, or just really would like to volunteer to help us,” said Crockett.

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