'Hospitality House' offers inmates a chance to stay connected with families

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by Mia Gradney / KHOU 11 News

kvue.com

Posted on February 18, 2013 at 5:12 PM

HUNTSVILLE, Texas -- Convicted criminals often lose touch with their family. Some people believe that can lead to them becoming repeat offenders. While no one is excusing their actions, one woman has taken up their cause in an effort to protect everyone.

Debra McCammon is the executive director of the Hospitality House. The nonprofit organization provides a home away from home for families visiting inmates in Huntsville. The organization’s mission is to keep inmates and their families connected.

“Yes, he (the inmate) made a bad choice, but the family didn’t make a bad choice,” McCammon said.

Convicted criminals are hardly sympathetic characters. No one would argue the focus should be on victims and their families. McCammon knows she has a tough sell but she says it works.

“What we’re seeing is men who get out and who had family come all the time to visit them...then they’re not going back to prison,” she said.

The day KVUE's sister station KHOU conducted the interview, Kenny Humphries was released, 23 years after shooting a North Texas police officer who survived the attack.

Humphries said his time behind bars changed him, thanks to Hospitality House.

“The biggest thing with prisoners is communication...communication with your family,” Humphries said. “Once you start losing that communication, your tie to the world breaks down. And after a while everybody starts fading out.”

Humphries’ wife, Twyla, slept in a car during her visits to Huntsville before learning about Hospitality House’s free room and board.

“Before I came here...It’s like you feel like you’re alone, you have...There’s nothing,” Twyla said. “There’s nobody that understands or can help you. They (Hospitality House) understand what you’re going through.”

Per policy, Hospitality House does not ask their guests/families what led to their loved one’s incarceration.

Click here to learn more about Hospitality House.

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