April 24, 2013 10:30:54 AM
VICKSBURG -- A prosecutor's office has developed a book for children that uses simple language to describe the court process and all the key players a child might see inside the courtroom.
"Court For Kids" was put together by victim assistance coordinator Susie Calbert, who worked as a court-appointed children's advocate before joining the district attorney's office.
The district attorney's office -- which handles cases in Warren, Sharkey and Issaquena counties -- ordered 250 of the books, which were paid for by a grant provided though the Victims of Crime Act.
"You want to provide an environment that's nurturing and friendly and safe so they can trust you," Calbert told the Vicksburg Post. "When they come here and see the people they have identified in the book they are more open."
Every week, the district attorney's office sees two to three cases when children are victims or witnesses, said District Attorney Ricky Smith.
"It's an idea that we had thought about doing several years ago but just didn't have the manpower to do it," Smith said. "We have always thought that we have needed something to help the kids."
Calbert said the book is targeted at children younger than 12. She said the information might help any family member who is unfamiliar with the judicial process.
"It's an easy read and parents can read it and it will help them understand as well," Calbert said.
Each page also contains illustrations and there is space for children to write about their feelings about being in court or write a short letter to someone they feel has helped them through the process. The back of the book has an activity section with coloring pages and space for drawing.
"Having them draw is therapeutic," Calbert said.
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