Peg Newman

“In prison you have so few opportunities to talk from your heart.”

 

Interviewee: Peg Newman

Interviewer: Kayla C., Grade 11

Interview Date: March 2, 2015

Interview Location: St. Cecelia Parish, Boston, MA

 Student Reflection:

On Monday March 2 I had the opportunity to interview Ms. Peg Newman, who is a volunteer for the Prison and After program at St. Cecelia’s Church, and a prison chaplain. It was an eye opening experience to learn more about the prison system. Also, I got to have dinner with the men which was truly an experience I will never forget. I heard so many different stories from the men, and learned a lot about what it was like to be living in a prison. The Prison and After program gives the men who were in prison the opportunity to talk to others about their feelings, as well as encourage each other to continue on the right path. The Monday night dinner felt like a loving, supportive community in which you are not judged for your past but are accepted for who you are. The volunteers at Prison and After are humble people who dedicate time each week to help the men stay on the right path. Ms. Newman was a truly inspiring woman – she is selfless and dedicated. Her bright smile lights up the room, and her heart is so full of love for everyone she meets. Ms. Newman exemplifies what it means to be an activist through her work at Prison and After.

 

“I know how important is is to help people who are leaving prison to reenter their communities.”

“I feel strongly that every church should serve people in prison or people leaving prison in some way.”

“To be a part of helping men who are trying to do the right thing , or trying to follow the right path is really hard…seems like the right thing to do.”

“It’s nice to have within the larger St. Cecelia’s community my own small community.”

“The guys coming out who now have a criminal record – it is very hard for them to get employment and if they do it’s probably a minimum wage job.”

“I have a much deeper understanding of why so many guys go back to the same things that send them to prison in the first place.”

“Reentry is like trying to climb a mountain without any hiking gear.”

“We need to work on jobs for them, CORI forms..”

“As soon as you have a criminal record you are excluded from an incredibly high number of jobs.”

“I was totally drawn to that kind of work.”

“It costs $50,000 a year per person in a Massachusetts prison.”

“We need realistic career paths and training.”

“The link between the real world and prison just isn’t there.”

“We provide men with encouragement.”

“They come back saying how much they appreciated just having the ability to talk and vent.”

“In prison you have so few opportunities to talk from your heart.”

“One in every hundred people are in prison.”