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MCI-Hs Inmate Walk-A-Thon Nets $2,100 for M.A.D.D.

When DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard arrived in Maryland four years ago, he made clear his interest in restorative justice: allowing inmates opportunities to pay back the society they harmed. Since then, employees and inmates alike have heard the call and responded in a big way.

On June 4, the lifers at Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown sponsored a walk-a-thon to benefit Mothers Against Drunk Driving. More than 260 inmates came out to walk laps around the prison yard, each making a donation for the privilege of doing so.

M.A.D.D. representative Lisa Spicknall came up from the Baltimore area to thank the inmates and accept their check. And what a check it was: the inmates raised more than $2,100 for M.A.D.D.

This is just a wonderful effort, far more than we could have hoped for, said Ms. Spicknall, whose personal satisfaction was made even greater due to the fact that her own family was devastated by crime eleven years ago. Inmates stopped by to speak with Ms. Spicknall, hear her own story, and thank her for her work with M.A.D.D.

MCI-H Volunteer Activity Coordinator Jonathan Peterson put together the walk-a-thon, and it wont be the last one. The MCI-H lifers and other groups (inmate veterans, Jaycees, and others) have four walks this year, each benefitting a charitable group.

Its this kind of thinking---not just at MCI-H, but throughout the DPSCS--- that keeps the momentum building on restorative justice efforts.

Most correctional facilities now have such efforts underway.

Im all about paying society back, said inmate Mike Fitzgerald, vice-president of the lifers at MCI-H and a man who says he has spent 25 years of his incarceration trying to better himself and repay society for my horrible crimes.

The DPSCS restorative justice arena grows by the day: there are numerous inmate fundraisers; one of only eight thoroughbred horse rescue farms in the nation run by inmates; a veterans cemetery restoration program involving inmates who are veterans themselves; farmfield gleaning by inmates for local food banks. The list goes on

Congratulations to the staff and inmates at MCI-H for their excellent effort to benefit Mothers Against Drunk Driving.