It was a special moment on Sunday for inmates and their families at the Jackson County Jail.
Sheriff Rick Meyer posted a video on his official Facebook page where users could see inmates wish their mother’s, wives, sisters, in-laws and others a happy Mother’s Day.
One by one, inmates who were selected to participate, would name off the individuals they wanted to say a greeting to and then share a few words.
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The video has been popular ever since, garnering more than 80,000 views, 178 comments and 531 shares from users.
It all began as an idea from Jail Commander Chris Everhart, Meyer said.
Everhart approached Meyer with the idea about doing the video live. Meyer decided they would pick a few inmates and record it ahead of the holiday.
It’s a decision Meyer feels had been worthwhile.
“Chris had a great idea for this,” he said.
Meyer said producing those kinds of idea is one of the reasons he decided to name Everhart jail commander when he took office in January. Meyer said it is important to treat inmates like people.
“They’re good people and just need somebody to believe in them,” he said. “I went to school with some of the inmates and so have many people, so they’re not bad people, they just made bad mistakes. If we can give them some hope and show we care, then maybe when they get out, it will motivate them to try to do better.”
Meyer heard from some relatives about the video, and he read through each of the comments. He also heard from the public about it with most of the comments being positive.
Samantha Douglas, 19, is serving time for a probation violation. She has been at the jail since Feb. 13 and is expected to be released in August.
Since being incarcerated, Douglas said the two had not spoken and were afraid to reach out to each other.
That has been difficult for Douglas because she said her mother and sister were all very close.
Since the video was published, Douglas said she has spoken with her mother each day.
“When I got here, I couldn’t see her or get a hold of her,” she said. “I love the fact that even with everything I’ve done, my mom doesn’t see me the way I feel, which is a disappointment. She still sees me as a good person. She’s a mother.”
In the video, Douglas wished her mother, sister and boyfriend’s mother each a happy Mother’s Day.
“I thought it was awesome for many of us to be able to do that,” she said.
Douglas said she has spoken with her mother more since the video published on Sunday than from the time she was incarcerated and days leading up to the holiday.
In their first conversation, Douglas said her mother told her she had watched the video and began to cry.
“Being able to hear that she saw the video and see that I was doing a lot better than I was, it was awesome,” she said.
Jeremy Pierce, 43, said he was happy to have the opportunity to wish his mother, wife and mother-in-law a happy Mother’s Day.
“I thought it was awesome to be able to do that,” he said. “It brings tears to my eyes to know that people like Rick (Meyer) and Chris (Everhart) really do care about us as people. It meant a lot to a lot of guys back here and to my family.”
He has been in the jail for about four months and has two more to go on a drug probation violation. But with the changes at the jail, Pierce said he feels he is at a point where he wants to turn his life around.
“I feel like the jail staff here have a lot to do with that because they’re men of integrity,” he said. “We had an Easter meal and there have been other changes where we feel like humans.”
Those things add up to count toward something, Pierce said, and the Mother’s Day greeting video was the latest example.
Pierce said the acts like the Mother’s Day video show the jail staff care. He said it also makes them feel like they are not forgotten about once they enter jail.
“Sometimes you feel like that,” he said. “Being able to make the video and for my mother to see that just shows they care about us here and want us to do better.”