^
Keep Houston Press Free
4

Inmate Moms Learn How to be Moms (and Use Computers) in Harris County Jail

In May, female inmates at the Harris County Jail spent four hours a day, five days a week learning how to use programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the basics of web design.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia partnered with The Mexican Institute of Greater Houston to offer inmates a five-week computer literacy course as part of a larger program called Mentoring Moms. Mentoring Moms, which started in November, is the first program at Harris County Jail that deals exclusively with women and parenting.

"The program hopes to make these moms productive members of society," said Christina Garza of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, "and keep them away from the life of crime that got them into the jail in the first place."

The jail has been offering an inmate education program for over 30 years to the wider inmate population, giving them vocational training in areas like culinary arts, mechanics, and carpentry. Mentoring Moms was brought to the jail in an effort to extend its services beyond the basic medical care mandated by Texas state law specifically for inmates who are pregnant or have small children.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

According to the sheriff's office press release, "up to 1,100 women are housed in the Harris County Jail" at any given time. The 60 to 90 day program draws from the resources of non-profit organizations and educational institutions to provide inmates with an opportunity to enroll is courses dealing with anything from parenting to computer literacy.

The program, as one can probably gather from its name, is a heavily gendered one. No men are enrolled, and no men in the Harris County Jail will take parenting classes or learn how to become better fathers, according to the sheriff's office spokesperson. Because it seems only moms should know how to take care of, and provide for, a family.

By leaving male inmates out of the conversation, it's doing a disservice to families that have to deal with jailed parents. It also keeps moms, who are taught all about raising children and getting jobs, from reentering society with full force. Whether Mentoring Moms will actually keep female inmates out of jail and in the workforce remains to be seen.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.