Stories of Women Transitioning: Kendra

Kendra was incarcerated at the age of 17, after being jumped by a group of girls as she left her beauty school where she was taking classes.  When one of her attackers broke a bottle and came at her, she pulled a hair cutting tool out of her pack and cut her.  She was waived up to adult court and given five years.  She served three of those as a model inmate.

After release 25 years ago, she has been a productive citizen since, held jobs, run her own businesses, and volunteered at a halfway house with women in her community.  While we were filming her as  a person still in transition after all these years of success, she applied for a job as a manager in a grocery chain.  As she approached her second interview, excited that they were seriously interested in her, she received a letter from the company asking her to explain in detail her criminal background.  They had located an old, pre-computer, copy of the charges.

Kendra was devastated, but with the help of our civil rights attorney, wrote her response and was later hired.  She talks about the shame of never being able to leave the past behind.

Kendra had grown up knowing sexual abuse and violence, as many women who end up prison are.