Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sioux City's Clare Guest House offers hope for women out of prison

Becca said she knows where she'd be if she didn't live at the Clare Guest House."

Oh, there's no question about it. I'd be back out on the streets looking for drugs," she declared. Instead, Becca and other women who have just gotten out of prison have a chance to rewrite their lives by living in a safe, supportive environment.

Last October the Sisters of St. Francis opened the transitional home for women at 1918 Douglas St. in Sioux City. Clare House is the only transitional house in Northwest Iowa operated by the Dubuque, Iowa-based Roman Catholic order. The Franciscans also founded Briar Cliff University.

"We think we are decreasing the number of women still in prison." Sister Shirley Waldschmitt said. "Many would not be released if there wasn't a transition house such as this one available to them. I see women of great courage who have lots of things that are difficult in their lives and are keeping at working through those issues."

Currently, three women live at Clare House. They have been released from the Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville. They can stay for a maximum of six months. All are on probation. [...Snip] Sioux City Journal

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