Sorry so slow in getting this posted. This is the newspaper article that was released by the Missouri Department of Corrections following my visit to the Maryville Treatment Center.
The Missouri Department of Corrections focuses heavily on the reentry process, ensuring offenders have the tools and opportunities necessary for them to be productive, law-abiding citizens upon their return to Missouri communities.
As part of the transition and rehabilitation process, offenders at Maryville Treatment Center (MTC) participate in a variety of classes. This includes Impact of Crime on Victims Classes (ICVC). These classes bring awareness and understanding to offenders in regard to the negative impact crime has on victims, their families and the community. The best way to accomplish this is to have victims visit the facility and share how they were victimized along with the pain and grief they and their families have endured due to criminal acts.
On September 30, 2009, Brenda Neff spoke at MTC's ICVC class. Neff is the founder of Abby's Hugs. This foundation gives stuffed animals, coloring books and crayons to children who are hospitalized. Neff formed this foundation after her 3-year-old daughter, Abrielle Neff, was killed as a result of a car accident involving a driver who had recently consumed alcohol. Abrielle Neff died on March 29, 2007.
During the class, offenders were able to see pictures of Abrielle Neff, making her not just a statistic but also a little girl whose life was taken away due to the driver of the other vehicle having consumed alcohol then driving.
MTC offenders have been involved in ICVC classes and Restorative Justice projects for several years. These Restorative Justice projects involve giving back to the community in the form of city-wide clean-up, resurfacing and painting church parking lots, and Christmas light projects to name a few. Several projects are also done inside the facility. One of those has been to create coloring books for Abby's Hugs.
While Neff was at MTC, she was presented with 220 coloring books, created by offenders as a part of their Restorative Justice project in association with the ICVC.
For more information, contact the Public Information Office (573)522-1118.