Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Given the opportunity to speak with someone who was developing new programs where you were incarcerated, what would you suggest?

I participated in a program called A.C.T. - Addiction Corrections & Treatment. It was very good and seemed to be helpful to the other women who were motivated towards recovery.

It would be great if they had programs that teach skills, but I know that costs money. I would suggest trying to attract large businesses that are outsourcing jobs to other countries, jobs such as customer service. The companies might have to provide some training, but if the labor was cheap, it could provide a win-win situation for all. In turn, the women would have skills and experience when they left. It would be interesting to compare the pay rates of what women make in prison to the pay rates of international outsourcing.

What I saw in jail, (I was not in prison and have no idea of the programs offered there), was that the women had no skill sets to provide them with decent jobs on the outside which would allow them to provide for themselves and their children. Therefore, they went back to lives of crime, drug use and depending on the government (such as welfare). Giving someone the opportunity to learn the ability to be able to take care of oneself and give oneself a better standard of living than welfare would benefit the whole country.

I would also suggest giving inmates access to the Internet and phones in the last couple of months of incarceration. It could possibly help people to set up jobs before they get out. Jail or prison could be a positive experience for people and communities at large. If changes in programs occur, it may reduce the revolving door syndrome, thus benefiting the taxpayers and the productivity of the country. -age 46

In the last six months of a woman’s incarceration, there should be a interaction program for mothers and children. It would give them the opportunity to work with a therapist assisting in the readjustment. It would let all parties talk about the changes, feelings and concerns that are about to occur. I would also suggest more living arrangements and pre-release planning. Many women who are coming out of incarceration do not have anywhere to live upon release. There are far TOO FEW halfway houses and programs for women. –age 45

I would develop a more intense program that allows mother's and father's to communicate with their children and physically see them and spend time with them. I did not get to see or verbally communicate with my children while I was locked up. I feel like there really should be a program were they can see you or we can go see them at least once a month. -age 36

I would suggest a program geared toward reuniting women with their children. I would suggest something like letting the women make videos of themselves talking directly to their children about some of the things they really want to say. For example, they might explain their past (drug history, drug addiction, child abuse, molestation etc.). I find this effective because I did this in my first support group in 1999. This allowed me to explain to my children about my addiction along with other health issues I was experiencing at the time. The tape was then placed in a safe and I was allowed to show my kids at the appropriate times. It worked out wonderfully and today I have a beautiful relationship with each of them. In addition, they did not have to hear anything about me second hand, because if they did they would have ready knew. -age 35

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