Blog post by Graduate Assistant Sarah Clarke:
Last week, I met with staff at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) to help plan the prison’s annual conference for female offenders. Fun-filled, productive meetings are the hallmark of my time with WCCW, and this meeting was no exception as laughter and enthusiastic ideas pervaded the gathering.
We met to plan an agenda that introduces diverse aspects of healthy living – physical, spiritual, emotional and environmental. As the planner of the environmental portion of the conference, I am tasked with finding presenters whose work illuminates the links between personal and environmental health. This task requires some ingenuity as it can be a stretch to combine the two, but find those presenters I will!
Already, we’ve lined up our first guest: Dr. Frances Solomon, a toxicologist with Washington State University and University of British Columbia. She will present on toxins in household products (e.g., cosmetics, children’s toys) and how they can affect human health, the health of other organisms and, more broadly, the health of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
I look forward to planning our monthly lecture series at WCCW, which will begin after the September conference and run through next spring. It is exciting and rewarding to work with people who care deeply about the well being of incarcerated women. Realizing how much we all have in common – prisoners, correctional staff and community supporters – has been a huge awakening for me. Before starting this job, I thought that prisons were heartless, but now that stereotype has been blown out of the water.