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Incarcerated Women Transform Governor’s Mansion for the Holidays

December 20, 2023

By Brendan Baptiste Communications Office
Jennifer Ramsey and Lani Kraabell offload wreaths from a truck.

Jennifer Ramsey and Lani Kraabell offload wreaths from a truck. (Photo courtesy of Brendan Baptiste, Communications Office)

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In a heartwarming display of transformation, a group of incarcerated women from the horticulture program offered by Tacoma Community College (TCC) at the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW) and Mission Creek Correctional Center for Women (MCCCW) recently had the unique opportunity to decorate the Governor’s Mansion with their handmade decorations. This event not only showcased their horticultural talents, but also served as a symbol of rehabilitation and hope.

The women brought a variety of handmade decorations. These items included wreaths, floral arrangements and various other ornamental pieces designed to bring a touch of nature and beauty to the governor’s residence. The skill and creativity displayed in these decorations were a testament to the dedication and talent of these women who have turned to horticulture as a means of therapy and personal growth while serving their sentences and earning college credit through TCC’s horticulture program.

The visit to the Governor’s Mansion was not just about decoration, it also included a significant interaction with the First Lady of Washington, Trudi Inslee and Secretary Cheryl Strange from the Department of Corrections. Staff put on a luncheon in the mansion’s dining room as an acknowledgment of the efforts and progress made by these women. First Lady Inslee and Secretary Strange took time to speak with each participant, discussing their gratitude for efforts in decorating and aspirations for the future.

“We are so very grateful to the governor and First Lady Trudi for their tradition of having the women of WCCW and MCCCW decorate the Governor’s Mansion every year. This is something that the women in our care and custody take great pride in doing,” said Strange.

The decorating event at the Governor’s Mansion provided a platform for incarcerated women to showcase their skills and hard work, and it also brought attention to the importance of rehabilitative programs in correctional facilities. By focusing on personal growth and development, these programs can help transform lives and guide individuals towards more positive and productive futures.

“Most people don’t realize that these women grow the many plants and put the decorations together themselves, including the actual decorating,” said Strange “This process begins in early spring and doesn’t end until everything is perfectly in place for the people of Washington to see. This is a very special thing indeed. I am very proud of the women who work hard and overcome challenges in order to earn the privilege of decorating our Governor’s Mansion.”