One of my workshops, “Choose to Change,” encourages participants to figure out why they make bad financial choices.
We discuss the decisions that led them to their current situation. In the case of a recent session, the participants were all inmates at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women.
During the presentation, one woman tearfully described how she sold drugs so she could buy brand-name clothes, shoes and other items for herself and her children. She was trying to make up for what she didn’t have as a child.
“Now look at me,” she said. “I’m in prison, wearing cheap flip-flops, and I don’t have my freedom and any of the stuff I bought.”
I was moved by how forthcoming the women were. Many had similar stories: They committed crimes to support a lifestyle they couldn’t afford but thought they were entitled to. Their testimonies weren’t about offering excuses. They owned up to their mistakes and the damage they had done. They were eager to learn strategies to make better choices.