Feature

Prison reading, Leap Year birthdays

Thanks to an unusual reading program, the inmates at Tutwiler Prison for Women are able to read to their loved ones on the outside.

The inmates at Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala., are doing hard time for drug offenses, robbery, and other crimes. But thanks to an unusual reading program, they are able to read to their loved ones on the outside. With the help of volunteers, the inmates pick out donated books, record themselves reading passages aloud, and then dispatch the tapes to children, grandchildren, and other relatives. The program, conducted by the nonprofit group Aid to Inmate Mothers, is so popular that some 150 inmates a day participate. “My grandbaby loves it,” said Kimberly Nethery, who is serving time for a drug offense. “I make the little sounds and everything. It’s helped me be part of her life.”

The odds against being born on Feb. 29—Leap Year Day—are about one in 1,500. But now it’s happened twice to a Wisconsin family. Julie Austin of Galesville was born on Feb. 29, 1956, and her granddaughter, Adilyne Rejoyce Boudreau, was born on that quadrennial day last week. Adilyne actually arrived two weeks after her due date, to the delight of her grandmother and the consternation of her mother, Melissa Boudreau. “Grandma was hoping maybe she’d be born on her birthday,” said Melissa. “I had said, no way am I waiting that long!”

After a difficult labor, Yvonne Sullivan of Somerset, England, went into a coma. About two weeks later, doctors told her husband, Dominic, that they might have to turn off her life support. “I got angry,” Dominic recalled. “I grabbed her hand and began shouting at her, ‘Start fighting, don’t you dare give up on me.’” Two hours later, Yvonne began breathing more steadily and is now fully conscious and recovering. “I never liked getting told off by Dom,” she explained. “Something inside me just clicked and I began to fight again. It’s a miracle.”

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