Award is given to person who excels in assisting Department of Corrections with its public safety mission.

Diane Addison, Hannibal Parents as Teachers (PAT) director, was the recent recipient of the Missouri Department of Corrections' (DOC) “Director’s Coin of Excellence” Award.

George Lombardi, director of the DOC, presents this award annually to an individual who demonstrates innovation and excellence in assisting the Corrections Department in its public safety mission.

The Hannibal public school district's PAT Program has provided services to incarcerated mothers at the Women’s Eastern, Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center (WERDCC) in Vandalia since 2004. Addison reports that since the PAT program at WERDCC was launched it has served 9,631 families.

Addison, a parent educator for 31 years and PAT director in Hannibal for 24 years, received the award at a presentation at the women's correctional institution in Northeast Missouri on Dec. 6, 2016.

“It was an honor to receive the Director's Coin of Excellence Award from Mr. Lombardi. He has served the Department of Corrections for more than 40 years and has been a champion for education for all. He especially promotes early childhood education as a tool to prevent incarceration,” said Addison. “This honor is usually awarded to employees of the Department of Corrections only and I was humbled by the recognition. I share this honor with the dedicated Parents as Teachers staff at WERDCC."

Addison added that the goal of PAT's service at WERDCC is to “form, strengthen and maintain attachment between the incarcerated mother and her child, increase her understanding of child development and how it relates to her child specifically, and support her transition back to her child and the community with the purpose of facilitating a positive outcome. With the cost to incarcerate a woman in Missouri at $17,000 to $18,000 per year, an investment in strengthening family stability with the result of reducing recidivism pays tangible rewards. Parents as Teachers at WERDCC makes a difference for families and communities.”

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com