Stories of Mistakes and Forgiveness: Women from Shakopee Correctional Facility Visit YWCA Youth
Three-minute showers, waking up at 5:00 am, asking permission to speak, doing pushups for minor infractions, the feeling of isolation that comes from limited calls and visits with loved ones… Recently, youth from the Girls Resolution and Prevention (RAP) program were visited by women from Shakopee Correctional Facility – and they learned a little about what the reality of what daily life in prison could mean.
The Path that Led to Incarceration
The visit was a part of an early release program for nonviolent offenders at Shakopee. The women shared their experiences and the paths that led to their incarceration with the youth in an incredibly brave and vulnerable way. The hope is that these stories will offer the young people perspective on the gravity of life’s choices and how simple actions can cause a ripple effect throughout our lives.
“If I Made a Couple of Different Choices”
“My life could have been different if I made a couple of different choices,” said one woman. “It’s no way to live. Ten months of my life I didn’t have to waste.” Another woman shared the regret she had for the hurt she caused her family. “It’s not worth it,” she said.
A Message of Hope
Overall, the message that the women left the girls with was one of hope. “I didn’t know before, but now I do,” said one woman. “There is a different way.” The women encouraged the girls to value themselves, think about what they want for the future and make positive choices to get there.
Girls Resolution and Prevention Program
Girls RAP is an intervention program that works with 125 girls each year, ages 12 through 18, who are involved (or at risk of becoming involved) in the juvenile justice system. Through this program, we help participants resolve their offense and stay out of the criminal justice system by building skills and motivation for positive life choices, as well as healthy relationships with peers and adults.