'Changing The Mindset': Female Inmates In Training For A Life After Prison

It is difficult to find work if you've been incarcerated. Outside Seattle, one women's prison is trying to give inmates a better chance by training some of them for non-traditional jobs.
Score board showing time results for TRAC practice tests. Source: Eman Mohammed for NPR

The inside of one of the buildings at Washington Corrections Center for Women looks like a prep site for a construction project. It's full of cinder blocks, wheelbarrows, and large standing wood frames. About a dozen inmates wearing orange safety vests and hardhats are pounding nails into the frames.

Steve Petermann is the instructor keeping watch. "There's a method here," Petermann says. "They have to do so many nails in so many minutes and they have to [pound] those nails down, on the side, and overhead."

The inmates at Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) in Gig Harbor, Wash., are among more than 2 million people incarcerated in the United States. For many who leave prison behind, recidivism is a problem.

One of the biggest obstacles they face on the outside is landing

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