NPR

'Changing The Mindset': Female Inmates In Training For A Life After Prison

It is difficult to find work if you've been incarcerated. Outside Seattle, one women's prison is trying to give inmates a better chance by training some of them for non-traditional jobs.
Score board showing time results for TRAC practice tests. Source: Eman Mohammed for NPR

The inside of one of the buildings at Washington Corrections Center for Women looks like a prep site for a construction project. It's full of cinder blocks, wheelbarrows, and large standing wood frames. About a dozen inmates wearing orange safety vests and hardhats are pounding nails into the frames.

Steve Petermann is the instructor keeping watch. "There's a method here," Petermann says. "They have to do so many nails in so many minutes and they have to [pound] those nails down, on the side, and overhead."

The inmates at Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) in Gig Harbor, Wash., are among more than 2 million people incarcerated in the United States. For many who leave prison behind, recidivism is a problem.

One of the biggest obstacles they face on the outside is landing

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readPolitics
China's Economy Falters; Slowest Growth In Nearly 3 Decades
The pace of growth in the second quarter was its slowest since 1992. The National Bureau of Statistics attributed the change to a complicated international environment.
NPR3 min read
Sculptor Augusta Savage Said Her Legacy Was The Work Of Her Students
Savage was an artist, an educator, an activist and a community leader. Born on Feb. 29, 1892, Savage once said, "I was a Leap Year baby, and it seems to me that I have been leaping ever since."
NPR3 min read
'The Chain' Asks: How Far Would You Go For Your Child?
In Adrian McKinty's propulsive new thriller, an organization called The Chain kidnaps children, and forces the parents to kidnap another child in turn in order to rescue their own