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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A group of Metro Corrections inmates is being taught a set of life skills many of them never learned from their own parents. A 20 session class aims to teach the intangible: how to be a good father.
"I have an 18-year-old son and a 14-year-old daughter… they're beautiful kids," said Metro Corrections inmate, Jamie Merideth.
7 years ago his life veered off the tracks.
"Drugs crushed the family, tore us apart. I've been incarcerated twice," he said.
But for the first time in a long time he's holding his head high.
Merideth is one of a dozen men graduating from the first ever "Fatherhood Program" at Metro Corrections. It's a class aimed to teach men what a good dad should act like.
"The problem is a lot of times with men we're so egotistical and arrogant we don't want to tell someone we don't really know how to be a father," explain Metro Corrections Substance Abuse Coordinator, Ken Wright.
"We model and try to answer their questions about how does a functional dad handle this stuff because I didn't get this," said "Fatherhood Program" Director, Ted Strader.
Many of these men didn't have a father figure in their lives. They are pledging to be different.
"My Daddy always said do what I say don't do what I do but I do want to lead by example," said Merideth.
"Staying sober and clearly staying out of jail being a supporter emotionally and every way really," said inmate, Nick Ditcharo.
This is the first time the class is being offered at Metro Corrections but it's been offered at other Kentucky prisons before and the statistics show results. A 5 year study was conducted.
"We had well over 600 men take our program and another 120 who didn't…The guys that received our program were 60% less likely to return to jail," said Stader.
"Great program. Best thing that ever could have happened to me," said Merideth.
The Fatherhood Program works in tandem with Metro Corrections' Substance Abuse Program. The training is also offered to military service members reuniting with their families after war.