I had heard that the visit to the Indiana Women’s Prison was simultaneously an inspiring, heartbreaking and unforgettable site visit (it was). I so looked forward to our OPTIONS class visit, but I was very anxious driving through the prison gates. And I was petrified when those heavy metal doors slammed shut as we moved from one “zone” to the next.
“I am not happy to be in prison, but I am thankful to be here.” These words were echoed again and again by the women we met at Indiana Women’s Prison (IWP), the oldest women’s facility in the country – founded in 1873. These women are thankful for the opportunities at IWP that have allowed them to create healthy blueprints for their lives. IWP has inmates as young as 14 and as old as 87 – serving terms for as little as one year to six life sentences. Some women are pregnant when they arrive.