Thursday, August 20, 2009

Group wants to help families of inmates

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Prison doesn't just affect the inmates.
'It can be just as bad for their families,' said Dr. Weldon Bowling, a licensed professional counselor from Harker Heights.
When people are incarcerated, their families have got to go on with the rest of their lives.
'They've got to work, get educated and try to maintain a relationship with the person behind bars,' Bowling said. 'And there's medical issues to contend with, for the person in prison and for those outside.'
Bowling, whose son is imprisoned for narcotics use, said these issues can be problematic for families involved with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
That's why he wants to start a Bell County branch of the Texas Inmate Families Association. The goal is to break the cycle of crime by strengthening families through education, support and advocacy. 'We help put families in touch with resources for medical care and education. That speeds up the process, so nobody's waiting around forever to get things done,' Bowling said. 'We also help in visitation efforts.'
The first organizational meeting is 7 p.m. today at Foundation United Methodist Church, 10751 W. Adams Ave. in Temple.
Details about the association are available online at www.tifa.org, and to contact Bowling, call 254-833-9916 or send an e-mail to wbowling@hot.rr.com.

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