A Woman Who Changed Her Life at Gadsden Correctional Facility Now Helps Others Change
“Hi. My name is Melanie Abrams. I am a former incarcerated inmate at Gadsden Correctional Facility. I entered the system in February 2014.”
When I got to prison, I had no idea what to expect. It was very different from the life I had lived on the outside. I was a professional. I worked as physician assistant for over 25 years. [I} got into some trouble due to a lot of bad choices on my part and a lack of boundaries and was sentenced to 36 months incarceration.
When I got to Gadsden, I felt hopeless, lonely, and I felt very much alone.
Thanks to Education Counselor Deon Lee, Melanie was invited to help teach other residents.
It was a new program created by Ms. Lee and another inmate that I had the pleasure of teaching with for over two years. And the program was designed to help women gain their GED while incarcerated. It saved my life.
It gave me an appreciation for life. It gave me an appreciation for the education background I had been blessed with. And it gave me the opportunity to give back.
During my time there, I was able to really focus on myself, make a lot of lifestyle changes; a lot of changes about the way I perceived myself, and about my value as a human being.
I was blessed when I returned to South Florida to be given the opportunity to become a substance abuse counselor…Every day, I work with my clients to help them recover from substance abuse.
I love what I do. And hopefully, I’ll be doing this until the end of my career, when I retire.
One of the great things about Gadsden was the availability of 12-step recovery programs. We had a 12-step meeting that happened every week.
My life has come together. I’m self-supporting. I don’t depend on anyone else to help me. I’m expecting my first grandchild this fall. My kids are doing great. And actually, my life couldn’t be better.
Thank you for the educational opportunities you’ve provided to the women at MTC Gadsden Correctional Facility. I saw so many happy faces on women who had sixth, seventh grade education who passed the GED on their first try.
I thank you for that opportunity you are giving women, for them to make a fresh start and to facilitate change in their life.”
About Gadsden Correctional Facility
Gadsden Correctional Facility is accredited by the American Correctional Association—
achieving 100% compliance for both mandatory and non-mandatory standards in
its most recent audit. Other accreditations and certifications include the Correctional
Education Association and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).