They did their time. Now, they’re finding a new life after prison

“Cafe” Brown, left, and Tarshea Sanderson with LEAP, a Miami nonprofit that mentors women in prison and works with them when get out so they get jobs and stay on track, at a cocktail party/fundraiser in Coconut Grove, on Oct. 25. Brown, who served time in prison for a conviction in a domestic violence case, was mentored by LEAP and now works as a cook at Camillus House. ALEXIA FODERE SPECIAL TO THE HERALD

Rebecca Brown knows the importance of having a mentor in prison.

Brown served nearly five years in jail and prison after her conviction on aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. The incident stemmed from a domestic violence case involving her former boyfriend.

She initially served at Lowell Correctional Institution near Ocala, the nation’s largest women’s prison, before being transferred to Homestead Correctional Institution. At Homestead, she learned about LEAP,(Ladies Empowerment & Action Program), a Miami nonprofit that works with women prisoners to help them transition into a new life after they leave prison.

“It warmed my heart that somebody cared enough about me to come visit me,” Brown said of her mentor, attorney Mahlia Lindquist. “There are little temptations when you get out, but if you have a mentor, you can go to them. They help you out and coach you through things, little things, that people overlook in their life. For someone that’s been incarcerated for a while, even getting help with technology makes a big difference.”

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