Source: (2001) Corrections Today. 63(2):108-111.
This article describes a volunteer program used in Maryland’s female correctional institutions to teach inmates responsibility and respect. The seminars were initiated at the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women in Jessup, MD, in 1997. The workshop begins with a 2-hour introduction that consists of six subjects: life, choices, responsibility, anger, forgiveness, and letting go and moving on. Each week a different topic is covered. As the participants gain confidence in the sessions, they are encouraged to discuss the circumstances into which they were born and the handicaps they had to overcome as a result of those circumstances. The goal of the workshop is for the women to come to know themselves, to love and respect themselves, and to gain confidence in their ability to make choices that can lead to the desired improvements in their lives. After 3 months, participants receive certificates that indicate they have completed the program. The author of this article, who started the workshop at Jessup, now takes the program, called “Awakening Women,” to 10 Maryland institutions. She works nearly 40 hours a week as a volunteer. She has been told by some corrections authorities that the program has helped reduce recidivism, especially among youthful offenders.
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