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For week ended September 12, 1999 Posted 10 Oct 1999

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Utahn's course at prison helps women turn their lives

Summarized by Donna Williams

Utahn's course at prison helps women turn their lives
Deseret News 11Sep99 P2
By Dennis Lythgoe: Deseret News staff writer

LDS Church member Cheryl Chandler has touched the lives of a number of inmates at the Timpanogos Women's facility at the Utah State Prison through a class she teaches there which she has entitled "Spiritual Dynamics".

The 38 year old California native and mother of three developed the course through a combination of ideas from the Sunday School class she was teaching at the prison and her interest in women's issues. She also had 25 hours of training in a "self-enhancement, self-discovery course" she took nine years ago gave her confidence. Because of the low self-esteem and self-image of many inmates, this seemed to help them examine their dysfunctional life choices and begin to build a sense of "empowerment".

If inmates satisfactorily complete the 9 week course, Chandler writes a letter of support to the judge assigned to their case, attesting to a change in their lives; she believes this impacts judges' decisions. According to Chandler's own figures, these women have only an 18% recidivism rate compared to a much higher rate for the general prison population; prison officials have not been tracking the rates themselves and so cannot corroborate these statistics.

Anyone wishing to donate to Cheryl Chandler's prison volunteer program can call 801-576-8807.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information