Women's prison program strives to help addicts recover

Credit: Mike di Donato/ KTVB

Women's prison program strives to help addicts recover

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by Jamie Grey

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBJamieGrey

KTVB.COM

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 10:48 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 4:06 PM

BOISE -- A special program at the women's prison south of Boise is credited with turning-around the lives of thousands of female offenders.

KTVB's Jamie Grey got special access to the program to see how it works, and why women say it will keep them from ending up back in prison.

The Therapeutic Community or TC Program at South Boise Women's Correctional Center is a place where some women will serve out part of their prison sentences.

"Our passion as staff and our leadership team is to make them better.  Complete the program, move them through the program, so they don't come back," Warden Shannon Cluney said.

The program focuses on helping offenders addicted to drugs and alcohol by adjusting their thinking.

"I had some pretty serious charges, and I was fortunate enough to get the TC program," participant Lindsay Stilwell said.

Lindsay Stilwell is nearly eight months into the program, and says she's a totally new person."Oh night and day. It's completely night and day."

Stilwell says she is learning to appropriately respond to risky situations or thoughts, "I just stop and do a thinking check-in on my thoughts, what I'm thinking, what I'm feeling, my physical responses, and I just go through, and I plug in new thinking. It's like reprogrammed. We like reprogram our thinking."

"Generally when they're first coming into the system here, they're not willing or ready to make that commitment, but as they go through the processes of the TC, they start to open up. They get comfortable being within the family, and that's when we start to see the change," Program Manager Brandon Phillips said.

Laura Damon was one of those who resisted --

"When I first got here I tried to lie my way out of here just because I didn't want to do the program. I didn't want to look at everything that I needed to," Damon said.

But now, nearly three months into the program, she says she's invested.

"I mean you go with it or you don't. And what I was... the things that I was doing before wasn't working for me, never has," Damon said.

"I know without a doubt that if I just use the tools I've been given that I will succeed out there," Stilwell said.

The program is designed to take nine months, but could take up to a year for some inmates.

At any time, there are more than 100 women in the program at South Boise Women's Correctional Center.

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