Behind the gates at Santa Maria Hostel in Houston, there's a flood of emotions.
"I hadn't seen (my children) in four months,” said Adika Lacour. “They wonder where I was, but I just told them, 'Mommy is getting better'.”
Lacour is mom to five, who spent four months in the Harris County Jail, then another six months here at Santa Maria recovering.
"When you're behind bars, you have nobody there. Sure, you have your fellow cell mates, but it's nothing like your family," Lacour said.
The Department of Justice is launching programs across the country to help parents behind bars reconnect with their children.
This week, events are being held across the country as a part of National Reentry Week.
More than half of the prisoners across the country are parents, mom and dad to around 5 million kids—kids who the Justice Department believes are the key to a successful reentry process.
"Research has shown inmates who maintain supportive family relationships with family members have far better outcomes when they live prison," said Sally Yates, U.S. deputy attorney general.
The department is launching a nationwide initiative to make visiting parents in prison more kid-friendly. All female facilities will have video visitation by June, something Lacour never had.
"I would rather them have seen me via video versus behind fiber glass," she said.
It's that image of being a mom she says women behind bars should work hard to maintain.
"It makes them feel like they have hope; they can go out there and still be productive members of society," said Lacour.
A society that needs mom and dads to come out better than they walked in.
The Department of Justice also launched a national reentry hotline for prisoners being released from federal custody and their families. The number is 1-877-895-9196.