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Women Behind Bars: Where are They Now?


Two years ago, KSMU's national award-winning series "Women Behind Bars" introduced you to women who were in prison, most of them on drug-related charges. We told you about their children and the impact their incarceration was having on the children. KSMU's Missy Shelton recently caught up with some of the women in our series. Here are their stories...

TWO YEARS AGO, PEGGY WAS STILL IN PRISON AT THE STATE LOCK-UP IN VANDALIA FOR DRUG-RELATED CRIMES...FAR FROM HER YOUNG SON HUNTER...

BUT THIS IS PEGGY TODAY...

SHE GOT OUT OF PRISON IN NOVEMBER, IN TIME TO SPEND THANKSGIVING WITH HER SON...FOR MOST OF THE THREE AND A HALF YEARS OF HIS LIFE, THIS BRIGHT EYED, BLOND HAIRED LITTLE BOY HAS LIVED WITH PEGGY'S MOTHER, MARY...MARY SAYS IT'S HARD TO THINK ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE WHEN PEGGY FIRST WENT AWAY TO PRISON...SHE SAYS SHE COULDN'T EVEN BRING HERSELF TO GO TO THE PRISON.

AND UNTIL PEGGY'S RECENT RELEASE, MARY'S TAKEN CARE OF PEGGY'S SON, HUNTER.

PEGGY SAYS SHE'S VERY GRATEFUL THAT HUNTER LIVED WITH HIS GRANDPARENTS WHILE SHE WAS IN PRISON...NOW THAT SHE'S WITH HER SON EVERY DAY, PEGGY SAYS SHE'S LEARNING ALL THE LITTLE THINGS SHE NEVER KNEW ABOUT HUNTER.

WHILE SHE WAS BEHIND BARS, PEGGY THOUGHT OF ALL KINDS OF THINGS SHE WANTED TO DO WITH HUNTER WHEN SHE GOT OUT...BUT NOW SHE SEES THINGS AREN'T AS PERFECT AS SHE IMAGINED...

AND EVEN THOUGH PEGGY IS DOING EVERYTHING SHE CAN TO BOND WITH HUNTER, SHE SAYS HE HASN'T TOTALLY ADJUSTED TO HER BEING HOME.

AND AS HUNTER'S MOTHER, PEGGY HAS HER OWN IDEAS ABOUT THE WAY HUNTER SHOULD BEHAVE...SHE SAYS IT'S DIFFICULT BECAUSE SHE TENDS TO BE MORE STRICT THAN HER MOTHER WAS WITH HUNTER.

AND ALONG WITH TRYING TO GET TO KNOW HER SON BETTER, PEGGY IS DEALING WITH A WHOLE NEW WAY OF LIFE...

THOUGH PEGGY SAYS SHE WAS DELIGHTED TO LEAVE THE PRISON, HARD MATTRESSES AND ALL, SHE'S HAD SOME UNEXPECTED EMOTIONS...SHE MISSES SOME OF THE WOMEN SHE LEFT BEHIND...SHE KNOWS HOW THEY FEEL...AFTER ALL, DURING THE LAST THREE YEARS AND A HALF YEARS, SHE HAS BEEN THE ONE WATCHING ANOTHER WOMAN GO HOME TO HER FAMILY...SHE KNOWS HOW IT FEELS TO BE THE ONE LEFT BEHIND...

FOR ALL THE TEARS THAT PEGGY AND HER MOTHER HAVE SHED DURING THIS THREE AND A HALF YEAR ORDEAL, PEGGY SAYS SHE BELIEVES JAIL TIME WAS WHAT SHE NEEDED TO TURN HER LIFE AROUND. BUT IT'S COME AT A HIGH PRICE. PEGGY'S MOTHER MARY SAYS SHE HAS PUT HER LIFE ON HOLD SO SHE COULD MAKE SURE PEGGY'S AND HUNTER'S DIDN'T FALL APART.

THOUGH MARY SAYS SHE AND THE REST OF PEGGY'S FAMILY GAVE HUNTER A LOVING ENVIRONMENT, SOMETHING WAS MISSING.

SHE SAYS HUNTER MAY NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO NAME IT, BUT SHE BELIEVES HIS MOTHER'S ABSENCE IMPACTED HIS YOUNG LIFE.

NOW, INSTEAD OF PRAYING *FOR* HIS MOM, HUNTER PRAYS *WITH* HIS MOM...

THOUGH PEGGY SAYS SHE HATED BEING AWAY FROM HUNTER, SHE SAYS GETTING TREATMENT FOR HER ADDICTION TO METHAMPHETAMINE, COCAINE AND MARIJUANA ADDITCIONS HAS HELPED HER...AND EVEN THE HARSH REALITY OF BEING IN PRISON HAS HELPED HER...

I'M MISSY SHELTON FOR K-S-M-U NEWS.