In spite of her excessive sentence, Life without Parole for a minimum of 50 years, Judy Henderson chose to embarked on a path of self-discovery, rehabilitation, and a life of service to others. Over the past 33 years, Judy's list of accomplishments has grown beyond what most of us ever hope to achieve. And she continues gathering more certifications and job skills with each passing year.
Chillicothe Correctional Center 1985 to present:
Aerobics & Fitness Association of America Group Exercise Instructor Certification Aerobics & Fitness Association of America Personal Fitness Trainer Certification Cardio Fitness Certificate - 92 Hours of Training Muscular Strength Certificate - 14 Hours of Training Step Aerobic Certificate - 29 Hours of Training Flexibility Certificate - 35 Hours of Training Pilates Certificate - 17 Hours of Training Yoga Certificate - 20 Hours of Training BOSU Certificate - 44 Hours of Training Interval Training Certificate - 42 Hours of Training Personal Training Certificate - 415 Hours of Training Senior Fitness Certificate - 25 Hours of Training Special Needs Certificate - 16 Hours of Training Certificate of Achievement as 4-H LIFE Club Member Puppies for Parole Program & Research of Effectiveness Participant Member of Stand for the Silent Organization Paid Tithes to Kairos Prison Ministries & National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Cardio Fitness Certificate - 51 Hours of Teaching Muscular Strength Certificate - 142 Hours of Teaching Personal Training Certificate - 388 Hours of Teaching Step Aerobic Certificate - 18 Hours of Teaching Flexibility Certificate - 17 Hours of Teaching Pilates Certificate - 36 Hours of Teaching Yoga Certificate - 11 Hours of Teaching BOSU Certificate - 11 Hours of Teaching Interval Training Certificate - 28 Hours of Teaching Senior Fitness Certificate - 32 Hours of Teaching Special Needs Class Certificate - 27 Hours of Teaching Certificate of Prison Hospice Volunteer Training Seminar Certificate of Completion from Missouri Hospice & Palliative Care Association Certificate of Achievement for 4-H BLING Club Girls in the Know Marshall Mentor Certification program Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Certificate for Completion of AFAA's The Metabolic Connection to Obesity Workshop - 5 CEU's CPR/AED/Standard First Aid Adult & Infant Training Certificate by Emergency Care & Safety Institute Tithes paid to Kairos Prison Ministries & National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA):
Group Exercise Instructor Certification (Feb 23) Physical Activity Instruction of Older Adults (Sept 15)
Certificate of Completion of Kairos Inside Weekend Program (Oct 5) Cardio Fitness Certificate - 146 Hours of Teaching Muscular Strength Certificate - 230 Hours of Teaching Step Aerobics Certificate - 16 Hours of Teaching Flexibility Certificate - 92 Hours of Teaching Pilates Certificate - 27 Hours of Teaching Yoga Certificate - 29 Hours of Teaching BOSU Certificate - 7 Hours of Teaching Interval Training Certificate - 14 Hours of Teaching Personal Training Certificate - 424 Hours of Teaching Senior Fitness Certificate - 20 Hours of Teaching Special Needs Class Certificate - 21 Hours of Teaching
2014 Certificate of Appreciation for support of the American Heart Association
2014 Certificate of Recognition of Achievement in 4H Life Tackling the Tough Skills
Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA):
Continuing Education Practical Pilates Workshop (July 14) Personal Fitness Trainer Certification and 15 CEUs (Oct 9-11) Personal Fitness Trainer Certification (Oct 12)
Actively participated in "Stand for the Silent" fundraisers and engaged in dialogue with other offenders to reduce bullying among prison population.
Completed GRA Institutional Assessment Score = 6 Low Risk
37 hours Cardiorespiratory Training (July 16) 19 hours Yoga/Flexibility Training (August 13) 127 hours Personal Training to the Blast Program (Sept 17) 68 hours Cardiorespiratory Fitness (Nov 18) 53 hours Personal Training (Nov 18) 74 hours Muscle Strength & Endurance (Nov 18)
Recognition Award, 4"H LIFE, 2012-2013 Member (Jan 14) Recognition for participation in "Life after Release" (Dec 10) Alzheimer's Disease Research Supporter (2013) Make-A-Wish supporter (2013)
Aerobics and Fitness Association of America:
Practical Yoga Instructor Training Workshop (July 20) Mechanics of Injury Prevention (Dec 9) Group Exercise Instructor Certification Caring for Aging and Dying Persons in Correctional Facilities (Nov. 8)
Heartsaver CPR AED, American Heart Association (July 17) Certificate of Appreciation, American Heart Association. Certificate of Appreciation, Member of the Restorative Justice Organization Certificate of Appreciation for 2 years of faithful support for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
BLAST Trainer Certificates of Appreciation:
Teaching 19 hours of Cardiorespiratory training (Jan 1) Teaching 19 hours of Flexibility (Jan 1) Teaching 26 hours of Muscle Strength (Jan 1) Teaching 10 hours of Muscle strength and endurance (May 10) Teaching 5 hours of Flexibility (May 10) Teaching 5 hours of Yoga/Flexibility (Sept 20) Teaching 15 hours of Muscle Strength & Endurance (Sept. 20)
Certificate of Completion; Pathway to Change Training (Feb 18)
Hospice Counselor Puppies for Parole program
Judy has participated in the Chillicothe 4-H LIFE program since its inception in August 2009. Funded by the National Children, Youth and Families at Risk (CYFAR) Sustainable Communities Project, the program is directed by a regional youth development specialist and implemented by a 4-H youth program associate. These people work with the correctional center staff to plan, implement and evaluate the program with eligible offenders. Judy’s daughter Angel, son-in-law David, granddaughter Jordan, and grandson Jared visit once a month to work with Grandma Judy on traditional 4-H activities, such as arts and crafts, demonstrations and other curricula-based activities focused on topics such as communication, decision making, and problem solving. Working together as a family on 4-H activities gives Judy’s grandchildren an opportunity to demonstrate to her their abilities and intellect, and allows her to interact with them as any other Grandma would be able to do. The Chillicothe program is ranked highest in the state for participation and enthusiasm.
Judy has served as president and vice-president of R.E.A.L. (Realistic Encounters About Life in Prison). She completed a six week trauma counseling program to prepare her to serve as a Hospice Counselor for inmates facing a terminal illness.
Selected (by Chillicothe Correctional Center Deputy Warden) to participate in the Puppies for Parole program which is to begin early in December 2010. Selected offenders teach rescue dogs basic obedience skills and properly socialize them in order that they will become more adoptable. Judy was excited to be one of ten CCC inmates chosen to train one of the first five “lucky dogs” assigned to the facility.
Other 2010 Accomplishments:
*Received Group Exercise Instructor Certification from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), a certification recognized around the world.
* Attended AFAA Group Resistance Training Workshop (Oct 6) *Certificate of Recognition for participation in Domestic Violence Classes through Mental Health Department.
*Certificates of Class Completion (5): Rock of Ages Discipleship Institute.
*Certificate of Support: U.S. Olympic Committee.
*Received “Citizenship Card” as an honorary citizen by Boys’ Town for financial support.
*Received Certificate of Appreciation from Easter Seals for financial support.
*Received Certificate of Appreciation from American Heart Association for financial support.
During 2010, Judy sent monthly tithes to:
Niles Home for Children in K.C. ($14); National Foundation for Disabled Veterans ($12); Liberty United Methodist Church ($27); U.S. Olympic Committee ($25); American Institute for Cancer Research ($10); National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund ($10); Cathedral of Worship Church ($10); Cornerstone Church ($15); Paralyzed Veterans of America ($10); Alzheimer’s Disease Research ($10)
Judy's history of accomplishments from 1982 through 2009:
Renz Correctional Center, 82-84
Helped organize a Battered Women’s Support Group with assistance from the women’s Self Help Center from St. Louis.
Elected to an executive position for a Long-Timers organization, a group that implemented fund-raisers and social events for inmates and contributed money raised to charities within the community.
Selected by administration to be one of approximately ten “lifers” to participate in a pilot religious program called, “Residents Encounter Christ” (REC). Today it has expanded to the majority of female and male prisons in Missouri and to prisons in other states.
Arizona State Prison Complex, 84-88
Requested and received psychological counseling and therapy to address the repressed anger against the system and herself, specifically her inability to forgive herself for her participation in a crime that resulted in the death of Harry Klein.
Attended school, received her G.E.D., and enrolled in college-level courses through Rio Salado Community College.
Involved in starting a “Long-Timers Organization” and held an executive position with that group. The organization was designed to teach “lifers” how to be productive, positive inmates and ways to deal with anger, bitterness, confusion, and feelings of hopelessness.
Presented a proposal to Administration outlining the goals and objectives of a “Battered Women’s Program.” She developed criteria for membership, a constitution, bylaws and an organizational chart. The proposal was approved and became known as “Women Against Violence.” It was the largest inmate group in prison. She continued as the coordinator of that group until she was returned to Missouri in July of 1988. The effect of the program was so powerful that the Arizona Governor’s office became interested and sent a representative to attend the meetings. The Governor’s staff then formed a “Battered Women’s Task Force.”
When the Women’s Self Help Center in St. Louis held its first National Conference on Battered Women and Justice, Judy recruited members of the staff in Arizona to attend. The conference drew people from 35 states, Canada, and Great Britain, with an attendance of 285. The Governor’s staff purchased one hundred copies of a book, “Voices Set Free,” from the Women’s Self Help Center. As far as we know the WAV program is still in full force in Arizona.
Attended several months of clinical therapy sessions in the AMAC (Adults Molested as Children) group through the Interfaith Counseling Service.
Women’s Prison, Fulton, Missouri, 88-89
Was one of fifteen women who testified before the panel of the Joint Committee on Corrections of the Missouri Legislature. Sponsored by Representative Sue Shear, they were the first legislative hearings held in a Missouri prison and concerned battered women serving long sentences. Two other members of the legislative panel were Senator Larry Rohrback and Representative Gracia Backer. Received two letters of recognition from the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., serving incarcerated women worldwide. She was chosen to speak by conference phone to hundreds of individuals who were attending a National Training Event for incarcerated mothers and their children in Kansas City, Missouri.
Selected as a PATCH (Parents and Their Children) Board member. Its purpose is to unite incarcerated mothers with their children in a family type setting, such as a trailer on the prison grounds.
In December 1989 Judy was sent back to Renz Correctional Center:
Selected by Administration to be a PATCH Board Member. She was active in organizing fund-raisers, activities for children, and the annual barbecue for inmates.
Received a Certificate of Merit for her volunteer work.
Helped other “lifers” organize a “Long Timers Organization” and held an executive position in that group. They planted a garden to grow vegetables for nursing homes and others who needed them in the community. At Christmas they held a charity drive and put together food baskets and toys for needy families in the community. They also held fund-raisers and social events for inmates.
Selected to attend a pilot program called STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting), sponsored by PATCH. The Board Members believed such a program needed to be implemented to teach inmates the skills of being a better parent. To this day, this program is ongoing at Chillicothe. Renz was closed in January 1993 after flooding.
Enrolled in Platte Junior College as a full-time student to become a Certified Paralegal. This was a one-year course. She graduated January 17, 1996, with “Highest Honors,” with a grade point average of 3.93, and received her diploma as a “Certified Paralegal.”
Elected to the Inmate Council representing the needs of her housing unit and the inmate population in general.
Enrolled at Lincoln University and continued college level courses until DOC dropped the program.
Selected by Administration to represent the inmate population to present their program needs to the “Women’s Prison Task Force.” She was also selected by Administration as a representative to the CORO Women’s Foundation Symposium. The foundation was a group of approximately 50 political and professional businesswomen from around Missouri.
Interviewed by a television network from St. Louis to help educate the public on battering.
Submitted a proposal to Administration to start a Battered Women’s program called “Sisters for a Better Tomorrow.” It serves the same purpose as the “Women Against Violence” group she started in 1985 in Arizona.
Became involved in planning, with staff, a three-phase program for inmates called, “I Want to Live.” The first phase was purifying the body of all toxins through vitamins and exercise; the second phase was spiritual enlightenment; and the third phase was social interaction (consisting of education, job interviews, and writing resumes.) Flooding at Renz forced evacuation before the program could be implemented.
Attended a program, “Women Helping Women,” which was held in small group sessions. The program’s objectives were to help the participants heal from past physical and sexual abuse, recognize unhealthy relationships, and become more assertive women.
Was one of the founders of a “Togetherness” program to educate inmates about AIDS and other sexually and drug transmitted diseases. The program was very popular, and she personally made over 500 AIDS ribbons for staff and inmates to wear to signify support for those who have been afflicted with such diseases.
Selected by staff to participate in the, “Scared Straight,” program. She spoke to approximately twenty juveniles (all previously in trouble with the law) about the reality of unhealthy relationships and peer pressure. She emphasized the tremendous cost to juvenile offenders of being involved in illegal activities that are likely to lead to prison.
Participated in the Prison Performing Arts Workshop.
Successfully completed YMCA Instructor Training in March 2005, becoming a certified "BLAST" instructor (Better Living Awareness Support Team). Since then she has taught aerobics, weight training, Pilates, yoga, tennis and racquetball to other incarcerated women.
Continued to provide BLAST training throughout 2006, 2007, 2008, and to the present time, convinced that it is among the best programs available to inmates to build - or rebuild - severely damaged self esteem. She hopes to continue in this work after her release.
Participated as a walker in the annual PATCH WALK-A-THON to raise money for the PATCH Program. She donated the prize she won, as well as $25, to victims of Hurricane Katrina. She also participated in this Walk-a-thon in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Other ongoing activities and classes in which Judy has participated:
Residents Encounter Christ Workshops; Bible Discipleship Institute Classes; Book of Mark Study Course - Discipleship Institute; Educational Certification Requirement for Physical Fitness/Nutrition Instructor (Continuance Training).
Judy has received dozens of letters from former inmates thanking her for helping them develop the courage and self-esteem they needed to go to college and never return to the environment that contributed to their involvement in a crime.
She has received letters from former prison officials (guards and section managers) commending her on what she has accomplished, the person she is, and the inspiration she provided to them. Many of these people, and hundreds of others, have written letters to Missouri Governors asking them to commute her sentence.
Please join us in our efforts to convince Governor Jay Nixon to commute Judy's sentence to time served.
HIGHLIGHTS OF JUDY’S WORK DURING THIRTY-THREE YEARS OF INCARCERATION