Here is a very well done report about the women’s prison in New Mexico. This report briefly covers the dog rescue and training program, Heeling Hearts. I am one of the original volunteers who helped coordinate and set up this program. I was unemployed during that time, which was back in 2007, therefore I was able to volunteer quite a bit of time then. My dear friend, Lyn, is still in charge of and running the program, so I get keep up with her about what is going on with the dogs and the women in the program.
I do not want to get too political as this post is about the women by showing you a very VERY small glimpse into what their lives are like behind bars. But I will say that in being a CCA owned facility, they get very little rehabilitation. CCA loves when inmates return. More profit.
Life Inside The NM Women’s Prison
Note that 90% of the women in NMWCF are because of drug related crimes. Obviously what we are doing to help addicts is not working. Additionally two-thirds of the women in this facility have children.
A much better solution would be a lock-down treatment center which is entirely devoted to education and parenting. So many of these women have no idea how to raise children simply because they themselves were not raised in a proper environment. This program would allow the younger children of the sentenced mother to reside together inside the treatment center. There, the mother can both attend intensive drug rehabilitation programs as well as parenting classes. Also very important would be to teach these women basic skills most of us take for granted. For example, filling out a job application. How to write a check, or even open a checking account for that matter. Even more importantly… how to read. You would be amazed at the number of women I have met locked up here who cannot read – or ready very poorly.
Lock ‘em up and throw away the key is not the answer. And as long as private prisons continue to function, then this cycle of addiction, abuse, and incarceration will never change and only continue to grow. Just because you cannot see it does not mean it doesn’t exist.
For more info on the Heeling Heart program, please check out my posting. My two wonderful dogs came through this program.