By Cassandra Hein
To celebrate International Women’s Day, my sister Jamie and I partnered with Holliday Health Group to conduct a survey at Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center (FMWCC). We wanted to see what was most important to female prisoners, as they are often ignored by our society.
Although we did not have access to the entire prison population, Jamie was able to survey 33 women at the prison. Each woman was asked the same question and given five answers to choose from. These are the results…
Question: “What is most important to you?”
- Love (30%)
- Happiness (18%)
- Freedom (24%)
- Health (12%)
- Relationships (9%)
- Peace (6%)
Our question and multiple choice answers were chosen to evoke emotional aptitude and get the subjects to prioritize what they consider significant in their lives. We believe that collecting data about the prisoner population is an important step for healthy transformation. The most popular answer in our survey was “love”. Are these women really that much different than us?
Jamie has been incarcerated for going on 10 years. In that time, she has inspired me in many ways. She has been attending Ohio University through the mail now for several years (imagine how long it takes to complete an assignment). Her declared major is Leadership Psychology & Cultural Development. I want to recognize my sister for the social work she is doing while incarcerated at FMWCC. She is inspiring prisoners in their own recovery and transformation, as well as inspiring many people who are not incarcerated (especially me).
International Women’s Day started in the early 1900s to recognize women’s economic, political and social achievements. It also serves to highlight the ongoing struggle for gender equality worldwide. Today, we ask people to recognize the women serving time in our prisons and jails, as well as the female correctional officers who work in them. You would be surprised how much they have in common, and we believe in working together to create a more healthy system. We also believe it can be done in an easy relaxed manner and in a healthy positive way.
Marie Peralta is a Correctional Officer at Clark County Detention Center (CCDC). She started composing a book of stories written by the inmates at CCDC. Her inspiration came as a way for inmates to share their life lesson’s with each other, so they could learn from their experience in jail. Her opinion about mass incarceration is similar to that of someone who may be incarcerated.
I commend Marie for her social service and compassion, and want to publicly recognize her for this year’s International Women’s Day!
After Orange: Halfway Home is a transitional home for women getting out of prison and jail in Las Vegas, NV. http://www.afterorange.org/
Our organization relies on donations and community partners to keep our doors open. 100% of donations go to keeping our home running and operating. If you are interested in helping please CLICK HERE.