Program Offers Job Training, Hope to Women in Florida’s Notorious Female Prisons

Women at the Homestead Correctional Institution earned degrees and business training under a nonprofit program.

Anchelin Gonzalez was just 17 when she left the Bronx and moved to Palm Beach to give birth to her son back in 2005. She was “leading a fast and dangerous life” in New York, she says, but relocated to live with her uncle in a sunnier side of the country. It didn’t change anything — six months later, Gonzalez was arrested for trying to rob a store with a firearm. She was sentenced to 11 years hard time in the Homestead Correctional Institution.

But Gonzalez didn’t spend those 11 years stewing. On Friday, she was one of ten beaming prisoners in matching caps and gowns who marched to “Pomp and Circumstance” inside the South Florida prison’s visitation room. With only five months left before she can reunite with her now 11-year-old son, Gonzalez is exitingHomestead Correctional with a GED, a business plan, and a certificate of graduation. 

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