Ellen Rutledge began her second career in the clerical field at Ironwood State Prison after resigning from the Palo Verde Unified School District. She had worked there as a Paraprofessional in Special Education for nearly 30 years, beginning with the elementary grade levels and progression to the high school senior level. Since the murder of her son, she has been compelled to speak out on topics that reflect her journey through the grieving and forgiveness process. She is actively involved with the planning of the Crime Victims' Service conducted annually during the National Crime victims' Rights Week at Ironwood State Prison in conjunction with the Chuckawalla State Prison.
Key to any solution for recidivism is the voice of those directly touched by crime. And nothing offers as much hope for change in the heart of the perpetrator as forgiveness. That's why Ellen Rutledge's extraordinary story sits at the very heart of everything the TEDx event at Ironwood State Prison was about.
One of the most difficult things we as humens are ever called upon to do is to respond to evil with kindness.