Doctor Karen Gedney is an internal medicine specialist who was placed in a male medium security prison in 1987 to do a four year payback for a scholarship she received. Against all odds she stayed three decades and turned it into her calling. The American Correctional Association designated her as one of the best in her business and for her medical care of inmates with HIV she was given the Heroes for Humanity award. Teaching was her passion and she developed and taught the first life skills program in the prison system. She even convinced her African American husband who had an MBA in finance to come into the prison to teach an ethnic history course in the college program. His exposure to the inmates and the impact he witnessed caused him to teach accounting and financial literacy at all three prisons in the area. When she retired from the prison after three decades she became an activist in the holistic prison reform movement and wrote her memoir, ‘30 Years Behind Bars,’ Trials of a Prison Doctor, to enable the reader to see the incarcerated through the eyes of someone trained and oriented to understand and heal, not judge and punish. Now she gives talks to increase awareness and inspire individuals and groups to become involved in prison reform. She also mentors children who have a parent in prison and sits on the board of The Ridge House in Reno that offers residential housing and services for those with substance abuse disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system.

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