Thursday, February 23, 2012



My name is Romaine and I'm training at St. Bartholomew's for the COMMUNITY OF HOPE as a lay chaplain. I mentioned to one of the members that I've always had a deep longing to get involved with "Prison Ministry" because that is where I turned my life around. Yesterday before class, he gave me your book to read and I put it in my bag to read sometime when I had time.

     Needless to say, it was burning a hole in my backpack when I got home and I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down to read the preface. That was all she wrote! It took me back 23 years ago to when I was incarcerated in Coldwater Women's Facility in Coldwater, Michigan. I read every woman's story and kept nodding my head, remembering the women I had shared time with and the struggles we went through, learning how to live, how to adjust to a "racial" culture, how to give up your total identity until you feel that you have nothing left to give.....
And the strip searches..... I will remember those until the day I die, TAKE ALL OF YOUR CLOTHING OFF, BE PATTED DOWN OVER YOUR BODY -- AND THEN TOLD TO BEND DOWN, TOUCH YOUR KNEES, AND DEEP COUGH.....
     I only had a few visits during those 5 years but that was fine with me because I felt so degraded every time I had to "submit to the search" before I was allowed to return to my housing unit.
     It was as if a well opened inside of me and I kept saying this is what I need to do. I'm not some "fire and brimstone" kind of person. This isn't something I want to do because I have a "whim" for it. This is something I want to do with all of my being because I know I would have never become the person I am today if a volunteer wouldn't have stepped in to ask me to join a Bible Study group-- or a chaplain at the facility wouldn't have taken the time to help me-- or a teacher wouldn't have taken the time to teach me that I was still a human being--or the psychologist who helped me find out who I was and where I was going....
     I'm sorry if I sound like I'm on a soapbox but your book moved me in ways that I haven't felt in years. The thought of those lost souls housed in over-crowded gymnasiums where no one was looking for them but a few good people like the ones I met who helped me along the way.  Thank you for telling your story and the stories of all of the women of Block 12.

Thank you, Romaine!
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For more about "The Women of Block 12" visit"

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  1. Romaine's review of, "Women of Block 12", is moving and inspiring. She has "walked the walk"!Community of Hope will be blessed by this witness to the blessing of God's successful intervention and new hope, when nothing else works!

  2. Romaine's review speaks from experience and from a heart healed by God. She has "walked the walk" of the ladies who have shared their stories of abuse, broken homes & broken lives. Romaine, shares a common bond with these women, they have all found hope, through God, in what seemed liked a hopeless existence. "Women of Block 12", brings to the forefront, that the only way to break free of despair is by faith & repentance. Linda's book has blessed my life.