Girl Scouts in Denver sponsor a program in which scouts meet with their mothers imprisoned in the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility, the Denver Post reports. “Some girls don’t even want to call their mothers ‘Mom.'” says a scouts spokeswoman. The Girl Scouts Mile Hi Council formed the Girl Scouts Beyond Bars program in 2000 after the success of a similar program in Maryland. For the adult women, meeting with their daughters (ages 5-17) for an hour every two weeks is welcome respite – one that program advocates say improves the mothers’ behavior in prison.
To participate, inmates must be free of “write-ups” for six months. If they get into a fight, they can lose privileges for 90 days. The girls get more out of the program than increased one-on-one time with their mothers; they also spend time with peers who can relate to their experience. They share time with positive role models who lead the program, such as Karrmyn Strama, who has a master’s degree in art therapy and is a trained family mediator. One chief goal of the program is to break the cycle of criminal behavior in families.