It could have been the multi-purpose room at any aging high school in Southern California. Two blocks of folding metal chairs were set up facing a wooden stage Wednesday. Dozens of women in blue sat with their guests, full of nervous energy. Off to one side, stacks of diplomas rested on a folding table.
But this graduation ceremony wasn’t at a high school: It was at the California Institution for Women, a state prison in Corona housing about 1,800 female prisoners.
For former inmate Vera Salcedo, it was a homecoming.