‘We are not defined by our mistakes’: 75 women graduate college from inside prison walls

DAYTON, Ohio — A college graduation ceremony took place in Ohio in a place you would least expect it — behind barbed wire.

“I made a lot of mistakes,” graduate Joy said. “I wanted to show my daughters different.”

On Sept. 29, 75 women at the Dayton Correctional Institution graduated with employment certificates or associate degrees from a unique program sponsored by Sinclair Community College.

Sinclair President Dr. Steven Johnson explained to WHIO-TV that the mission of this program is to give inmates the tools to be successful once they are released, and to reduce the chances that they will end up back in prison.

According to WHIO, Sinclair is developing similar programs in all of the 28 prisons in Ohio to help inmates while in the facility and when they are released, according to Maya Murray, Sinclair College Regional Director.

>> Read more trending news

The women in this program feel this achievement proves that they can do things that positively impact society.

“We are not defined by our mistakes that we made but the positive choices we are making now,” said Joy.

Some of the inmates in the ceremony may be released soon, while others have plenty of time left on their sentences, according to WHIO.