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Apologies for delaying the first post of 2010 until April– 1 in 100 got sucked into some time-consuming work commitments. Happy to be back and (hopefully) regularly blogging about prisons again.

Last year we delved into some of the many problems plaguing the U.S. prison system– overcrowding, inadequate healthcare, and sexual assaults against women prisoners, to name a few. While these problems are disturbingly pervasive in many prisons, there are a number of correctional facilities that have developed rehabilitative programs that benefit both prisoners and communities. Turns out there are quite a few positive things happening in prisons to highlight, too.

Today’s blog features an article about five correctional programs that offer prisoners the chance to give back to their communities. Numerous studies have suggested that rehabilitation is an essential part of the prison experience; inmates who take part in educational and vocational classes or volunteer are much less likely to return to prison.

Check out the article “Inmates Giving Back” here.

One program from this article that particularly stands out is the Long Termer’s Organization working out of Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, California. These women have minimum sentences of ten years and cannot anticipate returning to their communities for quite some time. What’s striking about this program is not only the fantastic work they’ve done donating money, time, and goods to local organizations– including $4,000 raised for a breast cancer foundation and quilting blankets for a hospice– but these women are also sponsoring a Girl Scout troop composed of the daughters of inmates at the prison.

Children of inmates often have a very difficult time adjusting to the absence of a parent, resulting in diminished self-confidence, poor performance in school, and an increased chance of future incarceration. However, by stepping in and nurturing young girls through an organization that promotes independence and self esteem, the women of Valley State Prison are setting examples of leadership that will immeasurably benefit these daughters of inmates for years to come. While this support network is pretty nontraditional, establishing continued adult presences in these children’s lives will go a long way in ensuring the next generation does not make the same mistakes their mothers did. What a commendable group of women!


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