Willimantic, Conn.— Former inmate, Chandra Bozelko, shared her experience behind bars when she visited Eastern Connecticut State University on April 20. Bozelko served six years in prison at York Correctional Institution in Niantic, CT, for 13 felonies and four misdemeanors, including forgery, identity theft and larceny.
“Prior to that, I was a brat. I pretty much got whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I got material things, opportunities and everything,” said Bozelko. She grew up in the suburbs of New Haven, and graduated from Princeton University. Bozelko now lives with her parents in Orange, CT, where she continues to make a name for herself nationally through her blog “Prison Diaries”. In the blog, she dissects the justice system including issues in prison and what causes women to end up in prison.
“Prison Diaries” was an International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences 2016 Webby Award Honoree under the “weird” category. Bozelko said, “I didn’t take it as an insult. I read what the Webby’s consider weird and they consider it something so new and different that it’s almost bound to cause a revolution.” She has shared many of her prison stories on her blog, including a story about the prison’s negligence in handling inmates’ personal property.
Bozelko’s most popular topic is the criminal justice system from a women’s perspective. Approximately 206,000 females are imprisoned right now in the United States, or 127 female inmates for every 100,000 residents. The U.S. female prison population makes up one-third of the worlds total female inmate population. In Bozelko’s book she discusses the impact of childhood sexual abuse on those women who end up in prison. According to Amnesty International, over 50 percent of female prisoners were victims of childhood sexual abuse.
70 percent of children who are abused are victimized by someone they know or who is in their surroundings every day. Bozelko believes that fixing this problem does not start with the victim or the perpetrator. “If you empower parents with proper financial and economic backing so that they have the money to place their children in after-school programs, and in decent child care, I believe this would greatly decrease the cases of childhood abuse,” Bozelko said.
About Eastern Connecticut State University
Eastern Connecticut State University is the state of Connecticut’s public liberal arts university, serving more than 5,300 students annually at its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. In addition to attracting students from 158 of Connecticut’s 169 towns, Eastern also draws students from 20 other states and 63 other countries. A residential campus offering 38 majors and 55 minors, Eastern offers students a strong liberal art foundation grounded in an array of applied learning opportunities. Ranked the 27th top public university in the North Region, by U.S. News and World Report in its 2016 Best College ratings, Eastern has also been awarded “Green Campus” status by the U.S. Green Building Council six years in a row. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu.
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