Thursday, August 2, 2012

Concord Monitor Chronicles Girl Scout Troop That Meets at Women’s Prison

The Concord Monitor reports that when Troop 10065 gets together, the Girl Scouts spend most of the time hugging, cuddling and whispering with their moms. This is their only time to share such intimacy: Their mothers are prisoners at the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown, where the troop meets each month.

The three hours of uninterrupted mother-daughter time are priceless to the girls in the program, who range in age from 11 to 15.

"I would be in a puddle on the floor if I had to go two months without seeing my mom," said Alivia "Liv" Bowen, who lives in Boscawen.

New Hampshire is a small state with a small prison population - 123 women are currently housed at the Goffstown facility - which can have some unnoticed consequences, said Carrie Green, the director of the Leadership Experience program for the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.

"They can be the only ones in their grades or their entire schools with a parent who is incarcerated. To be able to talk with someone else who is going through the same things as them means a lot," Green said.

Outside of Girl Scouts, if Liv wanted to talk about her mom, she'd have to explain a long story. Scouts mean "three hours of complete normalcy," she said.

As the April meeting started, the girls and their moms rushed to each other, hugged, kissed and chatted before settling in.

"It's hard on her sometimes, and I know that," Liv's mom, Holly Wheatley, said. "It's a good way to catch up, doing things we used to. Our bond has gotten stronger, and her voice has gotten stronger, she's matured.