Hundreds of inmates at the state prison in Mount Pleasant will be walking laps on their recreational track today and Friday as part of the Relay For Life. Stephanie Hubbard is spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society’s Southeast Iowa chapter, which benefits from the fundraising event.
The men’s relay will have 662 men taking part, along with correctional facility staff, while all 90 women in the women’s unit are participating. While there are dozens of Relay For Life events underway in Iowa and hundreds nationwide, this is the only one that’s held inside the walls of a prison.
While inmates only earn a small amount of money from their prison jobs, perhaps just a dollar or two a day, Hubbard says they project the event will raise 12-thousand dollars for cancer education, advocacy and service. Hubbard says, "The depth of their generosity is always one of the most amazing parts of this relay inside the correctional facility."
Both groups have donated crafts for sale in the Henry County Silent Auction, including quilts, crocheted works and drawings. She says one of the inmates who serves on the organizational board for the relay has taken part in several prison yard auctions. She says one inmate told how he’d bid $40 on a meal from Subway and it was his fourth "street food" meal, so he’d spent virtually all of his saved money on that food through the auction to benefit the Cancer Society.
This marks the fourth year the women inmates have taken part at the Mount Pleasant lockup and the second year for the men. The men are walking today from 7 A.M. until 2 P.M. while the women’s relay event is Friday. For more information, visit the website " www.relayforlife.org ".