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Relapse and Recovery: A Tale of Two Prostitutes

Relapse and Recovery: A Tale of Two Prostitutes

NPR carries the story of Magdalene in Nashville, TN, a recovery program for women with criminal histories or drug abuse who want to leave prostitution. From the second in a series:

One hundred and fifty former prostitutes have been through the Magdalene recovery program in Nashville, Tenn. Magdalene is a private two-year program for women with criminal histories of drug addiction and prostitution.

Magdalene is about work — not miracles, not fairytales. Seventy-five percent of its graduates make it. That means a quarter don’t. And there have been a couple of stunning relapses, including two women Becca Stevens counseled who left the program, went back to the streets and were murdered.

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* For two years, we offer housing, food, medical and dental needs, therapy, education and job training, all without charge or taking any government funding.

* Our six homes function without 24-hour live-in staff, relying on residents to create a supportive, community, maintain recovery, and share household tasks.

* Women come to Magdalene from prison, the streets and from across the Southeast and the country.

* Women in Magdalene/Thistle Farms range in age from 20-50, were sexually abused between the ages of 7-11, started using alcohol or drugs by 13, have been arrested on average a 100 times, and have spent about 12 years on the street prostituting.

* Seventy percent of the women who join Magdalene are clean and sober 2 1/2 years after beginning the program.

Part 1

Interview with Jackie Lyden, reporter of this series. Listen here.

Part 3 will run on Wednesday.


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