Wesleyan College in Prison Program


Wesleyan University has developed a program that will allow male prisoners in a Connecticut penitentiary to gain college credit.  The college-in-prison program is accredited, allowing faculty and students from the college to teach for-credit courses to inmates.  Wesleyan students are also running a program at a local women’s prison.  However, this program is not yet accredited, and consists of workshops rather than college classes.  The hope is that the accredited program will be expanded to the women’s prison in the future. Wesleyan faculty and students hope that this will provide an example to other schools to follow suit.

What a really great program! In Alabama, it is estimated that 1/2 of female prisoners do not have a GED, most averaging around a 10th grade education.  Though there are programs in place that allow inmates to receive their GED, there are no programs that allow any further scholarly education.  

Allowing inmates to take accredited college courses has the potential to really raise their level of efficacy.  Once these prisoners are released, they have the tools to do much more than they could have without further education.  It could also give a sense of empowerment, as they have the opportunity to study topics, readings, etc. that they would not have had access to otherwise.  

One of AWRN’s goals is to help women form reentry plans that will enable them to immerse themselves in the community, in hopes that they will not fall into the same habits that got them arrested in the first place.  Programs like these would definitely give inmates a great opportunity to get involved in the betterment of the community and themselves. 

To read this entire article, click here.

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Over 1300 Days of Freedom


Over 1300 days of freedom were gained today for a woman granted parole by Alabama’s Parole Board. AWRN is happy to have been a part of her reentry plan development and parole hearing advocacy. All the best to her and her family as she moves forward toward achieving her goals.  She is an incredible, strong woman who is ready to build on her progress and we are proud to have the opportunity to be a part of her life. 

So far this month, AWRN’s Parole Advocacy Project has gained a total of more than 3,000 days of freedom for four imprisoned women in Alabama.

AWRN would also like to express its gratitude to Aid to Inmate Mothers with whom we partnered on advocacy plans for three women.

If you would like to find out more about becoming involved in AWRN’s Parole Advocacy Project, please contact us at crodenjones@awrn.org.

Ala. prison officials may ask court to reconsider order to release inmate death records


Article here or below.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Department of Corrections officials say they are considering asking the Alabama Supreme Court to reconsider its decision ordering them to make public findings in inmate assaults and the death of an inmate convicted of killing two Athens police officers. Department spokesman Brian Corbett said Tuesday the prison system’s legal division was studying the court ruling. He said corrections officials will also likely confer with officials from the Alabama Attorney General’s office and the District Attorney’s Association. The court on Friday ordered the department to make public internal reports on inmate assaults at Donaldson Correctional Facility and from the probe of the death of inmate Feron Barksdale in 2007. Barksdale died after being found comatose in his cell at Kilby Correctional Facility near Montgomery.

If you watch just one video on mental illness in U.S. prisons…


make it this one.

Wow.

Please watch this excerpt of Trapped: Mental Illness in America’s Prisons. What a powerful and accurate documentary award-winning photographer Jenn Ackermann has given to us all. Please visit her site to find out more about the film and her other work at jennackermann.com.

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A Sign of Success to Come


As AWRN has said before, a parole hearing is an event that has been a long time coming for women in prison preparing for and awaiting the day they will be released. 

AWRN will be holding a training in early October for community-active citizens and providers willing to be the link between a woman and prison and her community at the point of reentry and beyond (more information can be found here).

Yesterday, AWRN and Aid to Inmate Mothers teamed up to advocate for the release of three parole candidates.  We are happy to report that through the women’s progress in prison, their successful reentry planning and preparation, and through community support from providers and community members across the state, all three women were granted parole.

AWRN believes yesterday’s success is a sign of the hard work and confidence of Alabama’s imprisoned women, as well as a product of Alabama’s commitment to strengthening its communities through resource sharing and advocacy.

We extend special thanks to Alabama’s Parole Board Members who saw how diligently the women have worked in prison on the range of factors that led them to prison.  Their confidence in the continued success of all three candidates was hard-earned and appreciated.

Sarah Kruzan: Sentenced to Life Without Parole at Age 16


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Girl Scout Troop Meets in Women’s Prison


This article is so wonderful! Twice a month, a girl scout troop whose members are all daughters of incarcerated women, meet in a women’s prison in Maryland. These meetings give the mothers a chance to connect with their daughters, giving them time to discuss everything from body image to boys to life with an incarcerated parent. It is so great that this program allows these women to be so openly active in their daughters’ lives. Can you imagine being away from your mother at such a crucial development period in your life?

To read this entire article, click here.