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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...

This was Peggy two years ago, locked up in the state prison at Vandalia for drug-related charges. She was participating in a program that enabled her to visit with her young son, Hunter in a private, home-like room just off from the prison's main visiting area. Now, Peggy has her chance...She will get to see Hunter grow up...She got out of prison in November.

This will be her first Christmas with Hunter...He's three and a half years old. When Peggy went away to prison, Hunter was 6 weeks old. Since then, Peggy's mother Mary has cared for the little boy with the big eyes and blond hair. Though she says she loves her grandson, Mary admits its been hard... Every other week, Mary drove the 2 and a half hours to Vandalia to take Hunter to see his mom. She also took lots of pictures and sent them to Peggy. Mary says she has pictures of almost everything Hunter has done. But not even with all the photographs and videos could prepare Peggy for everyday life with her son. She says now, she's having to learn the small things. That's not the only disappointment Peggy has had since getting out of prison last month. She's under house arrest for 120 days. At first, she thought that wouldn't be a big deal but now, with a monitor wrapped around her ankle, it doesn't seem so great.

And the restrictions aren't helping Peggy when it comes to building a mother-son relationship with Hunter...She says he's not used to having her around. All the tears, separation and sadness have been hard on Peggy...But she says it's helped her become a better person...someone very different from the young woman who became a part of the drug scene. She says she was too obsessed with material things... Peggy says her attitude about material possessions will be evident to her family this Christmas...She says she's not going to go out and buy a bunch of gifts.

And for Peggy's mother, Mary the perfect gift is having her daughter out of prison and home for the holidays. And that is the greatest gift Peggy could've received. This is her first Christmas with Hunter. Peggy's mother Mary says she's glad for Hunter that Peggy is home. She says even if he couldn't name it, he knew something was missing in his life.

Now Hunter doesn't pray for his mom...He prays with his mom. I'm Missy Shelton for KSMU News.