Women of Worth Competition: Vote for Brenda Murray and Raise $25K!

A message from Natalie Sokoloff, Board of Directors Member, Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, College Programming

“Friends, you can now begin voting for BRENDA MURRAY to win a $25,000 award that will go to supporting a college education for women at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW), where I am on the board of directors for the college program.

WE NEED EVERYONE’s VOTE so PLEASE, PLEASE–take the time to vote for BRENDA MURRAY. ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS VOTE–between Nov 9 and Nov 24.

1. Go to: http://www.womenofworth.com/home/home.aspx
2. Click on Vote Now-
3. Scroll down to Brenda Murray
4. Click on Brenda’s icon or on vote
5. Sign in with your email (THIS WILL NOT BE USED IN ANY WAY) AND VOTE.

I can only stress the importance of your vote by saying this could make a huge difference to the lives of women in prison.


Here is some info on Brenda Murray…

Judge Brenda Murray understood early on that if you improve the life of a woman, you transform the lives of her children, grandchildren, extended family and community as well. For the past 20 years, Brenda has been transforming conditions and providing educational opportunities for thousands of women behind bars.

The effort officially began in 2006 when, as co-chair of the Women in Prison Project sponsored by the National Association of Women Judges, Judge Murray sent an e-mail asking Baltimore and Washington, D.C., area professors to participate in a prison book club. About a dozen professors responded, in the process becoming educated about criminal justice issues and becoming ambassadors for the incarcerated women. With no money and a small volunteer army of academics and correction officials, Judge Murray ultimately created a college program in Maryland’s only women’s prison.

When incarcerated people lost their eligibility for Pell Grants in 1994, the vast majority of college degree programs in prison ended. Since then, little has been done to equip those incarcerated with the necessary tools – education, career counseling and placement services – to successfully re-enter society. In Maryland, there is very little in the way of post-secondary education, despite compelling evidence that an investment in higher education is the most effective way to reduce re-incarceration and crimes rates, lessen the taxpayers’ burdens, make prisons safer and more manageable, and create better transitions for convicted felons to become productive and valued members of the community.

Although most college degree programs in prison have ended, Judge Murray continues to directly impact the lives of virtually all 900 women in the prison, by infusing hope, respect and trust into the culture of the institution and by empowering the women to educate themselves. She is known as a direct and plain-spoken federal judge who practices tough love with selflessness and sympathy.

That’s why Judge Murray is a 2009 Woman of Worth.”


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