Please keep in mind that this blog often has comments and statements directly from the women on death row. Statements of grief, statements of innocence, statements of regret and sorrow. If bearing audience to these women's feelings, my opinions or those of commenters offends you please do not read on.

Krysten Webber and Bridges to Life

Check in from Krysten Webber this week. In it, she details a program she has been working in prison called Bridges to Life. Female inmates listen to the stories of survivors of violent crimes. Krysten says,
"You hear it from their perspective. Just how far and wide it reaches in a persons life to be victimized. It is very moving and it brings me to tears every time." 
The testimonials are given in person or recorded on DVD. The program also requires the inmates to share their own stories. They are required to report the details of their actions that brought them to prison. They also discuss their past as in childhood, adolescence and adult years pre-crime. They must answer pointed questions about their behavior and the devastation they have caused and are forced to confront their own crimes and others in the most personal way possible.

According to Krysten, it forces each participant to look at and consider things they may never have or may have chosen not to in the past. Doing so is terrifying, especially when you are listening to the stories of child killers. To hear what made that person into who they are points the finger at so many others besides the person who committed the crime. What is amazing, Krysten reports, is watching the countenance of 10 other people turn from judgemental to compassionate during the course of the program.

This program is working for her and others in her prison community. They are finding a way to resign to their fate and live a peaceful, fulfilling life inside. And yet, they are underfunded and lack volunteers.

What so many fail to realize is if we have thoughtful compassionate lifetime inmates, they work to keep others from returning. They use their experiences and newfound knowledge to counsel others on repairing their life on the outside. They change lives, sometimes ours.