We Believe in Real Chances

by Kate Brunk

Think for a minute about the most positive, transformative experience you’ve ever had. Maybe it was something that changed the course of your career or your whole life or maybe it was something that made you see yourself or the world in a whole new way. Think about the ways that the experience changed you or shaped you. Through our programs, we’re working every day to provide the space for women who’ve been incarcerated to have transformative experiences so they can rebuild their lives. We’ve seen firsthand that transformative experiences only come from having Real Chances to succeed.

A Real Chance Poem by Marilyn Brown


Now consider all of the factors that led up to your transformative moment. What gave you a Real Chance at having that experience? What opportunities, support, or resources did you have leading up to that experience? Did you have someone close to you encouraging you? Did you learn from or with other people? Did you have the financial means needed to meet your needs during that time? Were you part of a school, program, or organization that opened up opportunities for you?


As humans, we’re biologically designed to seek connections with one another and contribute to the groups and communities we’re part of.  For many people, after being incarcerated, we lose some or all of those connections and opportunities to be part of a supportive group. Our opportunities and resources are more limited by the fact that we’ve been incarcerated for a crime, regardless of our guilt, innocence, or desire to invest in our futures. We typically don’t have a Real Chance to overcome our new, stringent barriers to achieve success.


Black Woman and Asian Woman Near Candle Display

Shay & Katie with Las Vegas Market Display

At Labyrinth Made Goods, we invest in one another and believe in each other’s potential to achieve our goals. And with the help of our supporters, we’re creating Real Chances for all of us to transform our lives and our futures.

We recognize that not all of us had a Real Chance to begin with. We know that policies, systems, and histories of oppression make it more likely that our black, indigenous, and other sisters of color are more likely to face juvenile detention (Children’s Defense Fund 2021), adult incarceration (Women’s Justice Initiative), maternal mortality (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2020), lower wages (AAUW), and countless other detrimental outcomes that impact our health, well-being, and ability to even survive (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2021).

We know that 95% of people with felony convictions plead guilty (The Innocence Project) instead of fighting their charges because they can’t afford the steep costs to fight for their innocence. We know women are falsely convicted everyday and then serve time and face a lifetime of barriers for crimes they didn’t even commit. They never had a Real Chance to begin with.

Two Black Women Talking and Smiling in Front of Fence

Marilyn & Candice

Regardless of anyone’s past, though, when they become a part of Labyrinth Made Goods we are determined to give every single person a Real Chance to have the transformative experiences and support they need to thrive. Alongside our supporters, we’re investing in professional development and employment opportunities so we can rebuild our connections and find new opportunities and perspectives as we rebuild.


1 - The State of America’s Children 2021. Children’s Defense Fund. March 28, 2021. https://www.childrensdefense.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/The-State-of-Americas-Children-2021.pdf

2 - The Facts. Women’s Justice Initiative. https://womensjusticeinstitute.org/the-facts

3 - Maternal Mortality Rates in the United States, 2020. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February 23, 2022. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hestat/maternal-mortality/2020/maternal-mortality-rates-2020.htm

4 - Systemic Racism and the Gender Pay Gap. AAUW.  https://www.aauw.org/app/uploads/2021/07/SimpleTruth_4.0-1.pdf

5 - Racism and Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. November 24, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/minorityhealth/racism-disparities/index.html.

6 - “Why Do Innocent People Plead Guilty To Crimes They Didn’t Commit?” The Innocence Project. https://www.guiltypleaproblem.org/.