2009 Governor's Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Awards
Sisters of St. Mary Magdalene, "Susan Cranford" Award - Female Offender Program
The Sisters of St. Mary Magdalene have been selected to receive the honorable Susan Cranford Volunteer Award for female offender programs. This very successful volunteer program aims at establishing a "sorority" of Catholic female offenders through an in-prison crusade event called the St. Mary Magdalene Metanoia Retreat. After the crusade, volunteers follow-up with continued in-prison support through Bible studies focused on life applications, re-entry goal setting, restorative justice and a 12-step Christian program. Volunteers continue helping post-release with re-entry assistance by connecting sorority sisters with local Catholic volunteers and resource entities that help with temporary housing, transportation, gift packages, mentoring and job leads. There are approximately 700 members. This dedicated volunteer program stands ready to expand into other TDCJ women's prisons and jails.
This award is named as a tribute to Susan Cranford who passed away in March 2007 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Susan, a former Windham School District and TDCJ employee, served the Agency for 28 years. Many of those years were spent as the Warden at the Gatesville Unit. Prior to her retirement, Susan also served as Assistant Director of the State Jail Division and the Director of Private Facilities Division. Susan Cranford's innovative thinking and relentless desire to improve criminal justice programs for females gained her a well-deserved national reputation as an expert on women's issues in the field of corrections, both from the staff and offender perspectives.