Maui Inmates Get An Early Father's Day Gift

(KHNL) - They've spent years in prison away from their families, but Thursday, six Maui inmates got a chance to enjoy a very special and early father's day present.

The program for incarcerated fathers has been going on since 2004, but this was the first time the inmates got to spend time with their children outside of prison walls.

The prisoners from Maui Community Correctional Center were reunited with their kids at the Maui Ocean Center.

The trip is an early father's day gift, and also a celebration of the inmate's graduation from the ten week parenting program.

It has allowed prisoners, like Terrence Vasquez,who is in jail for manslaughter, the chance to be a father to his only daughter, "I went to prison when she was four years old. I saw her grow up through letters and phone calls. It is certainly a blessing to be a part of this program."

After exploring the marine life exhibits at the Maui Ocean Center, the inmates and their families feasted on Hawaiian food at a luau.

All of the activities were paid for by the Queen Lili`Uokalani children's center.

The program is made possible by several community groups.   And, it has been such a success, many inmates including those who are not even fathers want to enroll.