Women Offenders-DC Public Safety-220,000 Requests a Month

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[Audio Begins]

Len Sipes:  From the nation’s capital, this is D.C. Public Safety.  I’m your host, Leonard Sipes.  Today’s program is about women offenders and we have an event coming up on May 1st in Washington, D.C. dealing with women offenders.  And this radio program is designed to provide clarity to that event and possibly promote the event a little bit.
At our microphones today, Dr. Willa Butler.  Dr. Butler is a supervisory community supervision officer.  She runs groups of women offenders.  And we also have on our microphones Tracy Marlow.  She is under–currently under the supervision of my agency, the court services and offender supervision agency.  She’s about eight months away from her full release from our supervision.  She’s also in the process of starting her own business.  And so, to talk about women offenders, we’re going to have, again, Willa and Tracy to do that, but right for the moment, we’re going to be talking about the fact that we are extraordinarily grateful for the fact of all of your letters, emails, principally emails.  You’re following us on Twitter.  All the suggestions you provide, the criticisms, we really, really, really do appreciate them.
You can get in contact with us at media.csosa.gov and simply comment in the comments box.  Or you can contact me directly, leonard.sipes@csosa.gov.  Or you can follow us by Twitter, which is twitter.com/lensipes.
Back to our guest Tracy Marlow, and Dr. Willa Butler.  Willa and Tracy, welcome to D.C. Public Safety.

Willa Butler:  Thank you, Leonard.

Len Sipes:  Tracy, I just want to–I’m sorry, we’re going to start off with Dr. Butler.  Willa, now you’ve run groups of offenders here at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, groups of women offenders, people under supervision.  Give me a sense as to that process.  Why do we have special groups for women offenders?

Willa Butler:  Well, the group is Women in Control Again, WICA, which is a group started–it’s been maybe 12 years now, because we found out that women are different from men.  And we knew there was a–we knew they were different, but we didn’t know why.  So during studies, we found out that they needed a little more attention.  Women are, I don’t want to say needy, but women have more serious problems than men.  Not to say they are serious.  They have the same problems, but women adapt differently than men.  And when you look at the profile of the women or the characteristics, there’s usually child abuse, either sexual or physical abuse, substance abuse, little or no education, and a financial deficit there.
And then they grow up.  And they grow up–they start off with I could say dysfunctional, because we all come a little dysfunctional.  But then they end up somehow in the criminal justice system, because there was no one there to respond to their needs.  And that’s why they end up there, because what they had to go or the way that they chose to go to make it through life was outside of the norm, or outside of society’s norm, which led them into the criminal justice system.  In order to survive a lot of them, they end up doing prostitution or selling drugs or whatever have you.  And that’s how they ended up in the system.  And it seems like once in the system, it’s just so hard to get out of it.
And one thing that we notice is that now we need to hear from these women.  And we need to answer their cry.  What are the barriers?  And that’s what we’re addressing in our group.  What are the barriers?  You say women in control again.  I mean, we’re going to give them back the power that was taken from them at such an early age.  And they develop low self esteem, low self worth and value.  And you start getting into all their emotions and what exactly that they need.  And now it’s the time that we’re coming to the fore front in trying to address these needs.  And that’s what we’re all about.

Len Sipes:  The statistics aren’t very good.  Now when you compare the statistics regarding male offenders, female offenders, women have higher rates of substance abuse.  Women have higher rates of mental health problems, but it’s really what you’ve just mentioned the astoundingly high rates of sexual abuse as children.
Now if you take a look at the data, you’ll find astoundingly high rates of abuse and neglect for both male and females, who come under our supervision, who come out of the prison system, come under our supervision, come to us on probation.  But it’s the women offenders that really is startling in terms of that level of sexual abuse.
They come out of the prison system.  And they have, in most cases, 70 percent of cases, I think it is, they’re mothers.  So they’ve got to come back and deal with child related issues, and sometimes multiple children.  So it’s just not all the issues dealing with male offenders, which is tough enough.  But it’s all of the issues dealing with male offenders in terms of mental health, in terms of drugs, in terms of not having a high school education in terms of having a terrible job history, in terms of all of that.  But it’s even more so with women offenders.  And they’ve got to come out and raise and hopefully reunite with their children, and become mothers.  Again, that is an extraordinarily difficult set of circumstances to overcome.

Willa Butler:  Yes, it is, because a lot of times, the mothers never really raised their children.  Then there’s some guilt feelings there.  And there’s some hurt and angry feelings coming from the children.  And then the mother have to adjust to that.  And a lot of times, they’re manipulation in that relationship.  And the mothers feel that they have to do what the children want them to do in order to gain their respect or gain some type of relationship with them again.  And that can be detrimental, too, because we’re trying to live a better lifestyle, but yet we’re still going through a stage of manipulation in order to get the things that we had before we were incarcerated, which are our children.  And then you look at the other things that’s related to that.  We need housing, transportation, and like I say programs that would deal with the disorders.  We need integrated programs that’s going to deal with substance abuse and mental health, because a lot of the women, they suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, you know?  And that’s something that needs to be addressed.  And when you couple that with using drugs, then you really have something on your hand and that’s what we want to look at today and talk about. 

Len Sipes:  Willa, you’ve been through this for how many years?  You’ve been running these groups for women under supervision for how many years?

Willa Butler:  Since 1995.

Len Sipes:  And so you have seen literally thousands of women come through the criminal justice system.  At what point does it simply become overwhelming?  Because when I sit down, and I talk to women offenders, I’m simply overwhelmed by the complexity that they bring to the table.  I mean, the guys are hard enough, but the women with the increased levels of substance abuse and mental health problems, employment issues, anger issues, issues stemming mostly from their own childhoods that to me would become simply overwhelming at a certain point.

Willa Butler:  Well, doing this job, you have to be a passionate person and have compassion for this population that you’re working with.  And knowing that I came away today, and I helped somebody, I gave somebody some good advice, it makes me feel good.  Sometimes I do.  I just want to throw up my hands and give up.  But then, there’s always somebody that’s saying, Ms. Butler, if it hadn’t been for you, I wouldn’t be here today.  Or Ms. Butler, you helped me today and it makes me want to go on and do what I’ve been called to do.  It’s not an easy job, but it’s a job that I guess I’ve been chosen to do.  And I guess I don’t know what to say.  It’s just–it’s always tell my staff just do it, meaning just do it, meaning if you took time and thought about what you had to do, and the consequences of what you were doing, you wouldn’t do it.  So you just go on and know that you are going to make it, and God is with you.

Len Sipes:  But we do talk to more than just a couple women offenders, who have made it.

Willa Butler:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  An awful lot do end up making it.  And awful lot do end up being taxpayers instead of tax burdens.  An awful lot end up being the mothers of their children once again.  They are productive.  They are working.  You know, this is just not about her.  It’s about her children.  So we’re not just talking about one human being.  We’re talking about multiple human beings.
And you know, the fact that so many do make it is, I think, just a testimony, because you know, ordinarily, women involved in the criminal justice system, even in programs, they do better than the guys–

Willa Butler:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  –that go through the programs.  And so to talk to one of our success stories today, Tracy Marlow.  Tracy, you’re going to start your own business soon.  You’re–what an ice cream truck?

Tracy Marlow:  Well, I’m not going to start it.  I have it.

Len Sipes:  You have it.

Tracy Marlow:  I’m about to buy a second ice cream truck.

Len Sipes:  That is incredible.  And so you’re your own business woman.  You’re your own entrepreneur.

Tracy Marlow:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  That is so great.  That’s so cool.  I want to point out that Tracy is under our supervision for distribution of crack cocaine.  She was–been locked up in the federal prison system 1991.  She came out to us and been under supervision since 1995. Tracy, now give me a sense of your history?  Everything that I just said to Willa, and Willa just said to me, is that realistic?  Is that a accurate portrayal of women caught up in the criminal justice system?

Tracy Marlow:  Oh, yes, it is, sir.  Yes, it is.  When I came out to my family, I had no one to stand and guidance because I was angry because I was locked up.  I thought you all was the wrong people.  And I was the right people.  And we come with this idea, because we angry because our childhood.  I was molested and raped ever since I was five years old.  So–

Len Sipes:  And that’s a tragedy.

Tracy Marlow:  Yes, and long before drugs came along, I was sick.  And my mother didn’t give me the help because she didn’t understand.  She was an alcoholic.  And my father was an alcoholic.  So they did what they thought they was doing best was just sending off to school.  Don’t tell nobody what happened in the house.  Keep this a secret.  This is a family secret.  And that’s what I did.  I kept things a secret, but it was killing me inside.

Len Sipes:  But that’s exactly what happens. 

Tracy Marlow:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  Women keep these things secret.  Women don’t go out to get help. Girls don’t go out to get help and it just rips them apart internally.

Tracy Marlow:  It makes us grow up to do bigger crime.  And bigger crime became using drugs, selling myself, selling things out the house, abusing my kids, because I didn’t understand why.  Then mental health came apart, depression, not understanding that didn’t have a coping skill to cope with these things, because there was nobody to go to.  It was nothing designed.  You put your back out in the street and tell you to make it with your family.  How could I make it if I don’t have the tools to make it with?

Len Sipes:  Right.

Tracy Marlow:  I need to have some guidance.  I needed that.

Len Sipes:  Right.

Tracy Marlow:  But what held me on, I had some good parole officers.  I’m going to say all them was good.  It was me that wasn’t ready.  And as I went on learning life, I got a job in 2002 at Greyhound.  I still have some anger problems.  I still was going back and forth, but I just believed in a God greater than myself.  And people like Ms. Butler, Ms. White, some good parole officers, Ms. Wallop, they just stuck with me.  They sent me to groups.  They sent me to after care meetings.  And that pulled me on, but a lot of us won’t take it, because we don’t believe in it, because we think it’s a setup.  We think the system is trying to set us up.

Len Sipes:  Well, I mean, considering everything, we’re not exactly the most believable people on the face of the earth.  I mean, we’re there because we have to be there.

Tracy Marlow:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  We’re there because we’re paid to be there.  And people just think that we’re just going to set them up.  They don’t trust us.  And they don’t trust their own families.  They don’t trust their own friends.  Why would they trust the criminal justice system for the love of heavens?

Tracy Marlow:  And you’re right about that.  And for a long time, I didn’t trust you.  I really didn’t, but there’s so many programs you all got going now, but you need more.  You need to have–when a person step out of prison, you sent him to the halfway house.  You need to have something when they step out into their family.  Counseling, groups with their family, the way to welcome them back with their kids.  You just send them out to failure, because they go home and they’re not taking their kids, because they didn’t know how to take their selves.  So how could you send me back to three kids, but no home? 

Len Sipes:  Most of the criminal justice systems in this country do not have programs for either men or women.  Most–in most states, I mean, there was just research the other day that what are we saying, 70 to 90 percent of offenders caught up in the criminal justice system have a substance abuse background?

Tracy Marlow:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  11 percent get treatment.  11 percent.  And we’re not talking about treatment designed specifically for that person.  We’re just talking about treatment of any kind.  So 11 percent. 
So what we’re saying is is that 89 percent of people caught up in the criminal justice system, who end up in the prison system, who have substance abuse backgrounds don’t get drug treatment.  So people, number one, need to understand, who are listening to this program, that the vast majority of offenders don’t get the programs they need to make that transition from prison out into the community.  They should be getting these programs in the prison system, correct, Willa and–

Willa Butler:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  That should seamlessly follow them in the community.  But there aren’t programs for most offenders in most places in this country, whether it’s employment, whether it’s substance abuse, whether it’s mental health.  We, because we’re federally funded, do a lot better than most.  But even our programs as far as I’m concerned are not sufficient in terms of the sheer number.  For instance, we have 25 percent funding for 25 percent of the most heavily addicted individuals in terms of providing them with really good substance abuse therapy.  What about the other 75 percent?
So we struggle with that every single day, as most parole and probation agencies struggle with it.  I mean, the rest are taken care of either by the District of Columbia or the Veterans Administration, or faith based organizations, but you see my point.  The point is is that programs really aren’t there for people caught up in the prison system and they’re really not there throughout the country for women who come out.  Now why is that?  Either one of you can chime in.  Why don’t we have those programs?

Tracy Marlow:  Because somebody need to speak and tell them, let them know.  It need to be known.  If it’s one person, we could catch her, one, that’s a fight–it’s a fight for.  But if nobody knows, and we don’t believe, but if you put something out there, and we could see it, then might one or two will come along.
If I say one, another will come.  If I get two, another will come.  All of us is not going to make it, so who could choose which ones are?  So let’s help them all.

Len Sipes:  Okay, but–

Tracy Marlow:  Let’s help them all with more programs, more designs for this here.  Teach us while we in jail about family meeting, family planning.  Teach us.  Your carcerate person, and then you send them back out.  Teach them why they in there.  And teach them while they out.  Make programs.  They make everything else up.  They send rockets to the moon.  Help make more programs.  Do something.

Len Sipes:  Our guest today halfway through the program, and we’re really rocketing through this.  Sometimes, Willa, I–when we do these programs, I’d rather them be an open ended program.  So you know, we don’t have a time limit reintroducing, I guess, Dr. Willa Butler, supervisory community supervision officer for the court services and offender supervision agency.  My agency, she runs groups for women offenders.  Tracy Marlow has been on our supervision since 1995.  And she has started her own business, too, and bought her second ice cream truck.  Tracy is an example of what programs do in terms of helping human beings cross that bridge from prison into the community.
I’m going to go back to the same question, and because I hear what you’ve said, Tracy, but again, there’s got to be an explanation as to why people–why if I just described the fact that there aren’t enough programs, or aren’t nearly enough programs throughout this country.  I–is it what, prejudice against people caught up in the criminal justice system, the fact that people are saying to themselves, hey, let’s send the money to the schools, let’s send the money to the elderly, let’s not give it to the offenders.  They’re the ones who have caused us all this grief.  Why should we give them any money?  What’s the reason why we don’t have the programs we need?

Willa Butler:  Well, one reason, when you look at history, women were not–were looked on as not being intelligent enough to commit crimes.  So therefore, they were not thought about as being criminals.  And as they began to get in the criminal justice system, only back in 1998 when the drug trafficking laws were increased, that women really started going to prison more and more.  And then, we come out with–we have a deficit in a sense, because we don’t have anywhere to put these women or what to do with them.
But they were going through a treatment modality that was designed for men.  And like we said, women are different.  So now we see the difference.  And now we have a–we’re trying to develop a treatment modality that’s more designed for women that’s going to address all of their needs and not just part of their needs.  When I say part, just a substance abuse.  We need to address the substance abuse, the mental illness, the spiritual aspect of the person, the emotional aspect.  And not only that, to integrate it so that their children are involved.  We need programs where when the women comes out and goes to treatment, her children can go with her, because a lot of times, when women are in treatment, or when they’re away from their children, their mind is on their children.  And therefore, they can’t really concentrate on what they need to do, because part of them is thinking about what are their children doing, especially if the parents or someone from home is calling them, and telling them that Johnny or Sue is acting up, etcetera, etcetera.  What am I going to do?  The first thing they’ll want to do is leave the program.  Sometimes they do.  And then what–they’re right back in the system again, because it’s a violation.

Len Sipes:  I ask you this question every time you’re on these microphones in front of these microphones, Willa.  If we had, and Tracy, you’re more than welcome to chime in on this as well, if we had sufficient programs for women offenders, because women caught up in the criminal justice system always do better than men if you put the programs in place.  The question becomes if we had all the programs in place, the woman goes to prison, she gets substance abuse counseling, she gets mental health issues, she gets parenting classes, she gets employment readiness, or they train her for a job.  She gets her GED.  She comes out to a parole and probation system, where all of that is continued, but it’s continued in the community.  Your mental health issues, your mental–your substance abuse issues, your trailing issues.  And eventually, the idea behind all of this is that the majority of the people who we try to supervise and assist go in and start being reunited with their kids.  They start taking care of their kids.  They start becoming taxpayers.  If we had all of that in place, and none of that exist anywhere in this country. There are different states who are doing a better job than others in terms of trying to do that, but if you had all that in place, what percentage of women under supervision do you think would be successful?  Willa, start–you start first.

Willa Butler:  I would–I believe–I’m going to say 60 percent.  I really do believe that, because they have a better start in trying to live their life again.  In other words, they have substance.  They have something to bring to the table, something that I can do, something that’s going to build me up, and let me know that I can do this thing.  And I’m already pretty much got a great start.  And then I can come out with a job, with a place to stay, be able to take care of my children, and feel worthy of what I’m doing because a lot of times, when they come home now, they’re right back in the situation.  They’re in a situation.  They’re living with someone who they have to depend on.  And when you have to depend on someone else, it puts you in a precarious situation, because what, you’re vulnerable.  You have to do what they want you to do.  But when you have your own, your name on the lease, this is mine, it builds your self esteem and your self worth up.  And you can do better.  I believe you can.

Len Sipes:  Tracy, do you believe the majority of people, women caught up in the criminal justice system, if they had these programs both in prison and in the community, what is your percentage of women who would make it, who would not go back to the criminal justice system, take care of their kids, and end up paying taxes?

Tracy Marlow:  I’m going to go a little higher than 60.  I believe about 70.

Len Sipes:  Okay.

Tracy Marlow:  And the reason I say that, because I’m a woman of such, that I’m just that person, that if there’s more out there, what helped me to grip on, I just believed in something.  Somebody told me something, and I just stuck to it and believed in it.  But it took me many years for that.  So if there’s more set out, more women will gravitate to it, because women are caregivers.

Len Sipes:  Right.

Tracy Marlow:  We are caregivers.  So if we don’t break this cycle with these children to let them know that they don’t have to do what we did, the world will get better.  It will be more programs.  We’d get home for these children, because self esteem is a big issue, too. If we don’t have self worth, we are filled zero.  We got to believe that you could buy ice cream truck and start your own business.  You could be a president of the United States.

Len Sipes:  And that is a foreign concept to the vast majority of women caught up in the criminal justice system.

Tracy Marlow:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  Right?  They’re nowhere even near that sense of themselves.

Tracy Marlow:  No, they’re never nowhere near.

Len Sipes:  So if you have an individual who’s been sexually abused, who’s been neglected as a child, and many cases, the women I’ve talked to repeatedly so, they come out of that set of–I mean, I–you can take a person, regardless of their circumstances, regardless of their race, regardless of their income, regardless of who they are and what they are, just being repeatedly sexually violated.  Give them every other benefit on the face of the earth.  Just take that particular factor.  And they will struggle throughout life in many, many, many instances.   In other words, they will use drugs.  They will have very, very–

Tracy Marlow:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  You add that to everything else that people who get caught up in the criminal justice system go through in terms of dropping out of school, in terms of not having a job history, in terms of an extraordinary low level self esteem, in terms of poverty, if you put all that together, the cards are so heavily stacked against you, that it seems almost inevitable that you will fail.

Tracy Marlow:  Yes.  You’re set for failure.  It’s a setup for failure when you have all that stacked against you.  All this is stacked against you.  And in the side, you say you can make it.  Give me some materials to make it with.  Give me some programs.  Give me a job.  Give me a place.  Start me out with a corner.  I’m not asking for a mansion.  Give me a little place with my three bedroom for my kids, a one bedroom.  Give me something to start and see what I do with it.  Give me a chance.  Make more programs.  Everybody might don’t be successful as I did.  I’m coming out of it in eight months.

Len Sipes:  But yours wasn’t a straight success.

Tracy Marlow:  No, mine wasn’t straight success, because–

Len Sipes:  I mean, you–

Tracy Marlow:  –it’s still a fighting matter.  But I have a place.  I came out and got a place, got a job.  First time I ever had a job 2002.  I’ve never worked, because nobody would give me a chance to work.  They wouldn’t hire criminals.

Len Sipes:  Because of what?

Tracy Marlow:  They wouldn’t hire criminals.

Len Sipes:  Okay.

Tracy Marlow:  Women criminals.

Len Sipes:  All right.

Tracy Marlow:  You know, we didn’t talk strong enough.  They didn’t–oh, what?  They’ll push us to the side.  But it was just that one person on this job, this one person.  I’m going to give you a chance.  All jobs don’t do that.

Len Sipes:  Who gave you the chance, by the way?

Tracy Marlow:  Jeff Biebenton gave me a chance at Greyhound.

Len Sipes:  At Greyhound.

Tracy Marlow:  Gave me a chance.  And it was the day after they hired people.  It was finished.  It was over with, but I called him.  And he said come in.  Just come in.  You didn call me so much, come in.  And I came.  And he did it.  He opened the door for me. And I didn’t let him down.  I became a good worker and one of the best workers.  You know, but somebody gave me a chance, but I didn’t believe in myself.  I had to build it and believe in myself.  I got one child at a time.  My mother wouldn’t give me all my kids.  Thank God for grandmothers.  My mother gave me one child at a time.  Every year, she gave me another one.
 
Len Sipes:  How many children?

Tracy Marlow:  I have five.

Len Sipes:  Okay.

Tracy Marlow:  She gave me one at a time until I became strong.  And she knew I can handle it.

Len Sipes:  Okay.

Tracy Marlow:  Then she went on to heaven.  And I’ve been fighting the battle every since, having good people like Ms. Butler, Ms. Wallop, Ms. Tracy White just holding me on.  But every woman don’t get that.

Len Sipes:  Well, that’s my point. 

Tracy Marlow:  Every one don’t get it.

Len Sipes:  That’s my point.

Tracy Marlow:  So we got to make something better, because everybody–if we don’t break this cycle for the children, then the system going to be bigger with a lot more women in jail.

Len Sipes:  And the research is pretty clear that women, I’m sorry, the children–

Tracy Marlow:  The children.

Len Sipes:  –they have higher rates of criminal involvement.

Tracy Marlow:  The younger girls now are getting–they are going to jail left and right.  They are–I know they’re high, because I go and do volunteer work.  And the girls in the youth places are more than the guys now, because the parents can’t break the cycle.  The children are mimicking what the parents did.

Len Sipes:  Right.

Tracy Marlow:  Their mothers.

Len Sipes:  Well, they’re doing exactly what they know.

Tracy Marlow:  What they know.

Len Sipes:  And that knowledge base is not very good.

Tracy Marlow:  No.

Len Sipes:  No.  Willa?

Willa Butler:  And that’s true.  And that’s what we need to do is break the cycle of pain, because girls are ending up in the criminal justice system more now.  And they’re starting off early.  And it’s like they need the identity, and say–they’re trying to identify with each other and with the wrong peer groups.

Len Sipes:  Yes.

Willa Butler:  And that’s the problem that we’re seeing.  And the sad part about it is the characteristics are the same.  A lot of them, they’re running away from home because they have been abused, you know, molested at home.  And that’s the beginning of it.  They run away.  And then somebody pick them up.  And they start them out to prostitution at an early age.

Tracy Marlow:  Yes.

Willa Butler:  And that’s how some of them get in the criminal justice system, because they’re predators out there more ways than one.  And they’re looking at these children.  When, you know, that’s what they’re there for.  They’re designed to get them.

Len Sipes:  And this is happening in every day in every city throughout the United States.  And yet there’s no collective scream.  There’s no collective outcry.  There’s no collective sense of just sheer and unadulterated anger that this happens to human beings day in, day out.  And then, they get caught up in the criminal justice system.
But we do have society that at certain points, there–this is almost–people are too cavalier.  They’re not carrying enough by in terms of what’s happening, in terms of the immense amount of child abuse that’s going on inside of homes.  I mean, you know, Tracy, you have a sense of whether I’m right or wrong?

Tracy Marlow:  Oh, you’re right, because how many kids are keeping it a secret, because I was told to keep it a secret?  How many kids are getting molested and won’t tell because the parents told them not to tell?  I’m one of them.  I’m a victim of that.  My mother said you don’t tell what goes on out this house.  Keep it a secret.  I was molested since five.  And I kept it a secret. 
But my secrets kept me going till I became uncontrollable.  And now I’m crying out to the other ones.  It’s not a secret, tell it.  Tell somebody.  Help, help.  Get more programs.  Get more groups.  Talk one on one, a group, something, because these kids are going to mimic.  And when you’ve been abused, you become abuser sometimes.

Len Sipes:  Yeah, you do, because it’s what you know.

Tracy Marlow:  It’s what you know.

Len Sipes:  It’s what you know.

Tracy Marlow:  Jesus.

Len Sipes:  I mean, how many of my friends throughout my times, who have been children of alcoholics end up marrying alcoholics?

Tracy Marlow:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  It’s what they know.  It’s their comfort level.  And that comfort level is destructive.

Tracy Marlow:  That’s what my mother and father did.  They both was alcoholics.  But they was functional.  They worked.  They worked every day, but they thought that was right, because they didn’t know better.  They only knew what they was taught.  So it’s not their fault.  We got to break the cycle.

Len Sipes:  We’re in the final minutes of the program.  I need a quick answer from both of you.  And, you know, every time we do these programs, Willa, I’m just, you know, shivering in terms of hearing from individuals like Tracy, who tell their stories so honestly and so passionately.  It’s just–it absolutely blows my mind.  I mean, I love doing these shows, because of the passion your folks bring to these microphones.  But at the same time, it’s frightening to hear.  And I want to say it over and over again that there’s not enough programs.  And there’s just not enough caring on the part of the larger society.  Final comments, Willa?

Willa Butler:  That’s true, Leonard.  I just want to say that we do need more programs out here for women, not only that we need more programs, but we need some preventive programs in the community where the mothers, the children, they can go and find refuge.  And come together with their children.
If they had some type of counseling when this first happened as far as the rape and molestation was going on, that would prevent a lot of this.  But I’m looking forward to our program that’s going to be this weekend, Saturday at the Temple of Praise and 700 Southern Avenue.  And a lot of this will come out there.  And I thank you for inviting us today.  

Len Sipes:  Well, Willa and Tracy, I want to thank you very much.  Tracy, thank you very much for telling me your story.  I’d love for you to come back six months from now and give me a sense as to where you are in terms of your own business.  I am so enthralled.  And, Lord, just listening to you, I just want to hug you, which I will do after the program.  And just, you know, I think you’re the very epitome of what we in the criminal justice system can do, given the resources.  I just thank God for your recovery and the fact that you’re out there, and the fact that you’re now helping others make it through. 

Tracy Marlow:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  So God bless you for doing that.

Tracy Marlow:  Thank you for having me.

Len Sipes:  Ladies and gentlemen, this is a very emotional D.C. Public Safety.  I’m your host Leonard Sipes.  Our guest today, Dr. Willa Butler, supervisory community supervision officer from my agency, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.  Willa, as you well know at this point, runs groups for women offenders.  Tracy Marlow is a person under our supervision and she started her own business, her second ice cream truck.
Again, thanks to both of you.  Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for listening.  If you want to comment about this program, any other program, give suggestions, comments, criticisms, the email directly to me is Leonard, leonard.sipes@csosa.gov.  Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/lensipes.  Or go to the website where all of these programs are, www.media.csosa.gov and simply comment in the comments box, as so many of you do.  And please, everybody, have yourselves a very, very pleasant day.

[Audio Ends]

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