A Clean Start

HARP participants — including Tera Crowder (far left middle, in white T-shirt) — prayed for a participant being released in November 2017. Image by United States, undated.

On a hot June day in 2019, Tera Crowder finished the last minute of her time owed to the state of Virginia, walked out of the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, and, for the first time in her life, said she was serious about leaving heroin alone.
Entering and exiting jail has been a constant for Crowder, 35, as a result of her longtime heroin addiction. Prostitution and theft fueled her daily habit for over a decade and routinely led to incarceration.

This time would be different, Crowder said. She was ready to help raise her children, a task her mother had taken on for nearly two decades. And Crowder credits the HARP program at the Chesterfield County Jail, where she was incarcerated before transferring to Fluvanna, with preparing her for the life ahead.

“If it was not for HARP teaching me coping skills and giving me tools, I would have been getting high [in prison],” she wrote in a February 2019 letter from prison.

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