Deb has plenty to look at in her review mirror. Her lived experience with being given a 20 year prison sentence and during her time incarcerated she chose to heal, grow, and seek her HSED while at TCI. She was released and had to fight many barriers to continue her education. She attended University of Wisconsin, and is currently completing a Masters of Divinity.
Asha Family Services in Milwaukee and Voices Beyond Bars, MUM/JUST DANE supported her re-entry along with her family. She knew she was supposed to go to school to use her experience to walk alongside others and support them in transforming their own lives so they, too, could be truly free. She was finally accepted into a liberal arts program with a focus on criminal justice and women’s studies. With support from Prison Ministry Project Deborah received a full Pardon from Governor Doyle 2010 and was Ordained Lutheran Pastor in 2011. She has completed all 5 units of Clinical Pastoral Education through Meriter UNITY Hospital, Madison and received a Grief Counseling certificate through UW all the while she worked full time as a DOC Chaplain, was raising her grandchildren, working as a chaplain at the hospital, volunteering to walk with others healing from trauma, domestic violence, SUD, and mental health challenges.
She knows she was “called” back to prison in 2003 to offer space for healing, hope, and transformation. She credits her faith, her husband and family, her education, her tenacity believing all things are possible for her and others. She retired as a WI Department of Corrections Chaplain and Certified Peer Specialist working at WRC/WWRC a mental health treatment/correctional facility. She is currently working as a Certified Peer Specialist with incarcerated CPS’S who serve others while serving time. She lives her life knowing that the opportunity to learn presents itself everyday and we are all lifelong learners!
Deborah Mejchar has received many awards, the most recent Amy Gannon Award Madison Magazine. Deb’s most treasured are those awards from her Peers with the same Lived Experience of incarceration.