It was tempting for the women who came out to the Temple of Praise church in Southeast on Saturday to focus on the clothes, the shoes, the table full of makeup with a rainbow of blush and eye shadow laid out before them.
But for many of the women, the real gift — the rebuilding of their lives after serving in prison — started months or even years ago. And it started from the inside, before they attended this weekend’s conference designed for female offenders reentering society.
Laverne Newman got a dash of mascara added to her lashes Saturday morning after picking out a donated tan pantsuit to take home. The makeover would serve as a good “ego booster.” But Newman, 54, said she went to the conference because she wanted to become more independent after spending 13 months in prison on drug possession charges.
“Women like me, sometimes we go through a lot of things as children, like abuse,” said Newman, who started drinking when she was 6, after she was molested. “It leads us down the wrong path because it’s a way of numbing our feelings, but we’re not bad people.”