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
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.