On Wednesday 25th May three prisoners from Tarrengower Prison enlightened an audience of over 60 people at the Zonta Club of Kyneton Biennial Changeover Dinner.
The three women spoke of the way in which they are all benefitting from the amazing opportunities that can be provided to them within Tarrengower Prison such as online tertiary education with nationally credited courses and qualifications, rehabilitation and wellbeing programs, Drug and Alcohol Services, community work with the CFA and Senior Citizens, the Greyhound Adoption Program and reintegration programs ahead of release to name a few.
The women were eloquent in their delivery, and shared a depth of understanding of their perceived position in society and a keen desire to move forward with their lives. They spoke of every prisoner at Tarrengower being someone's daughter, mother, sister, grand-daughter and loved one which resonated with the audience who are similarly placed although have little experience of incarceration; in the audience, the pain of simply the thought of being separated from those we love was unmistakable.
They expressed feeling exceptionally lucky to have the possibility of relaxed residential visits and the benefits of a very open prison environment when compared to those imposed at Dame Phyllis Frost Centre from which the majority of ladies transfer. One lady told of the joy at being able to see the stars and moon each night, while another was excited at the thought of driving in the dark which we all take for granted.
Whilst not a focus of their presentation, it is clear that each one of us is only one dreadful mistake away from prison. The ladies provided a very thought-provoking presentation and we thank them for their time and effort coming to our bi-annual changeover dinner.
For information regarding the Zonta Club of Kyneton and their projects in support of empowering women, both local and international, please go to www.zontakyneton.org.au