One may not think that reading a Shakespeare monologue while being incarcerated in prison could eventually lead to obtaining a higher education degree, however, with the Women’s Prison Shakespeare Program, located within the Huron Valley Women’s Correctional Complex in Michigan state, women have achieved these dreams.
Reading Shakespeare helps these women build real world skills, such as public speaking, and creative thinking – skills that are necessary when these women are released into the community. Reading aloud also allows the women to express emotions that they may not be able to express otherwise.
For several years, Warden Millicent Warren, has created innovative programs that help to enrich the women prisoners lives, from horticulture to crocheting. The Shakespeare program is one of her newest.
Warren feels that all humans have a right to better education and that by being educated, people become better parents, better neighbors and become more self-reliant and confident – ultimately becoming better citizens.
all humans have a right to better education and that by being educated, people become better parents, better neighbors and become more self-reliant and confident – ultimately becoming better citizens.
Through the other programs created by Warren, the women prisoners are able to give back to the community. The horticulture program produces thousands of pounds of fresh produce that get donated to groups dedicated to fighting hunger on a local level. The prisoners also help fix vehicles and do other projects for Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill Industries. They work with the Humane Society in socializing dogs for adoption and make knitting projects that get donated to shelters, hospitals and for victims of natural disasters.
All of these projects not only help community, they help these women gain confidence in reintegrating into society.
If you would like to make a donation of material or to volunteer, please contact Deputy Osterhout at 734.434.9635.