Walks to raise money for charity are held all time, but this is a first in the state. The Iowa women’s prison at Mount Pleasant is hosting a Relay For Life on Friday to benefit the American Cancer Society. Marcy Stroud, the prison’s treatment services director, says the events inside the prison will mirror the “real” fundraiser to be held in Mount Pleasant on Saturday.
Stroud says the relay event will be held out in the yard and they’ll have carnival-type games like at the real relay and vending booths selling nachos or popcorn, the sorts of things inmates don’t usually get to have. There’ll also be a cookout, a rarity for the prison. She says almost the entire population of the women’s prison will take part in the charity walk within the prison walls between 7 A.M. and 7 P.M.
It’s not a run, but a walk, with ten teams of eight offenders each, at least one member of whom will constantly walk the course in the yard for the 12 hours. While the inmates don’t have much money, Stroud says the effort will raise cancer awareness, not thousands of dollars. She says a few cancer survivors are among those taking part in the events.
Stroud says the prison staff will be alert for any escape attempts and other shenanigans during the charity walk and games. She says “We are not overly concerned about that happening. We are beefing up our staff so we can monitor things more closely. There’s always that chance. These are criminals and of course they run scams. We’ve tried to minimize that opportunity as much as we can.”
The men’s prison at Mount Pleasant is -not- taking part in the event, but Stroud says the male inmates have saved cardboard toilet paper rolls for the women, who will decorate them to resemble candles which will line their walking course as faux luminaries.