The mission of the Charlene Perkins Center at York Correctional Institution in Connecticut is voiced each weekday morning by the 77 women who call the center home. They gather in a meeting room on the second floor and begin their day by reciting the center’s credo. The words underscore the work that lies ahead. “We are here at the end of our incarceration,” the women say in unison. “Clearly our release is inevitable but our continued freedom is up to us. … In order to become the daughters, sisters, spouses and mothers our families and we deserve, we must acquire the information and skills to develop a positive lifestyle.”
The Hartford Courant reports the women are the first to take part in what the state Department of Correction says is an innovative program focusing on female inmates who are within 18 months of release. Think of it as a prep course for returning to life on the outside. If it works, Correction Commissioner Theresa C. Lantz said, she may use it as a model for other prisons beyond the state’s facility for women.