These Women Are On Their Way Out Of Prison. And They Have Business Plans To Help Them Stay Out

How are inmates supposed to transition to the world outside of prison? 

For one pre-release program at the Homestead Correctional Institution, the answer is in entrepreneurship. 

Nine women graduated  this week from the Ladies Empowerment & Action (LEAP) program, wearing  dark blue graduation caps and gowns accompanied by ear-to-ear smiles.  This is the 13th class of graduates from LEAP which is currently only  offered at Homestead Correctional Institution. “We are the Harvard of the corrections system.” – Mahlia Lindquist

For some of these women, this is the first time they had ever graduated from anything. With misty eyes, they talked about how far they’ve come and what they learned over the 300 hours of coursework required for the program.

“You believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. You saw the potential when I thought there wasn’t any,” said Shaquanda Williams in her speech to the gathered crowd in the Homestead Correctional Institution’s recreation room.

The women were selected to be part of LEAP because they’re all nearing the end of their terms in prison and needed some help figuring out what life afterwards might look like.

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