Monday, December 11, 2023

Another holiday, another free phone call home for these inmates

Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail (WYDaily/Andrew Harris)
Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail (WYDaily/Andrew Harris)

For some, one phone call can mean the world.

After a successful trial run during Thanksgiving this year, the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail will again offer a free 10-minute phone call so each inmate can call a loved one on Christmas.

The free phone call, which normally costs 20 cents per minute, will be offered to inmates from 8 a.m. Dec. 24 to 4 p.m. Dec. 27.

The free call is one of several ways the jail is celebrating Christmas; the jail is also working with community groups to give holiday kits and gift packs to inmates.

“Being incarcerated anytime during the year is difficult enough, however, it’s particularly tough during the holiday season,” said jail Superintendent Tony Pham in a news release. “This is often a stressful time of year for a lot of folks, doubly so if they’re unable to be with their loved ones. At the end of the day, this is intended to provide them with a sense of normalcy.”

The Williamsburg House of Mercy, a local nonprofit that assists inmates when they reenter into society, has purchased a holiday kit for each inmate that includes candy canes, stamped envelopes, snacks and hot chocolate.

“We wanted to provide something special for folks who are spending their holiday incarcerated,” said Shannon Woloszynowski, executive director of Williamsburg House of Mercy. “This fits in wonderfully with HoM’s mission statement in assisting those who are indigent, or are incarcerated, or who may simply just need a little extra help throughout the year.”

A member of the Patrick Henry Disabled American Veterans gives a gift pack to a veteran inmate at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail. (WYDaily/Courtesy VPRJ)
A member of the Patrick Henry Disabled American Veterans gives a gift pack to a veteran inmate at the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail. (WYDaily/Courtesy VPRJ)

Chapter 34 of the Patrick Henry Disabled American Veterans also gave out gift packs to veteran inmates.

The packs include candy canes, hot chocolate, and peppermints, hygiene items such shampoo, soap, lotion and stamped envelopes.

“These folks served in uniform, and while they may be incarcerated, that doesn’t mean we forget about them,” Cmdr. Charles Morris said.

The jail will also serve Christmas breakfast and lunch. Breakfast will include turkey sausage and turkey ham, biscuits, scrambled eggs and cereal. Lunch includes roast beef and turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie and dinner rolls.

“VPRJ is lucky to have cultivated relationships with outside partners who are willing to provide these comforts to the inmates here,” Pham said in the news release. “We’re grateful to be able to work with them to do so.”

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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