BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WWLP) – The Eastern Hampshire District Court held a graduation ceremony Tuesday for women that were a part of a new probation program.
The Womanhood program started out of a need: the number of women entering the court system has increased significantly over the last couple years. The court adopted the program for the first time 10 weeks ago, and offered it to women currently involved with the probation department.
Probation Officer Regina Sanderson brought the program to western Massachusetts, after seeing the success of a similar initiative in Chelsea.
“The program that we provide serves to educate them, and we’re hoping by education to empower them to then go on obtain future successes,” Sanderson said.
Seven out of the ten women enrolled in the program graduated Tuesday, including Carly McLean of Belchertown, who said that she thinks it’s a great initiative.
“The trial court system, you know, sometimes just wants to punish, and this program is definitely not about punishment. It’s about trying to make yourself better, and make your life better,” McLean said.
The Womanhood program addresses different issues weekly, including self defense, self esteem, resume writing, and job interviewing.