In the preface to the fascinating volume Woman in Prison, author Caroline H. Adams explains the chance encounter with a classified advertisement that changed the course of her life. It was a help-wanted ad soliciting applicants for the role of prison matron, a type of female warden who oversees the logistical and housekeeping aspects of running a correctional facility. Seeing the job as a chance to simultaneously earn money and help those in dire straits, Woods jumped at the chance. She recounts her experiences in this book.
While I was waiting, that advertisement returned to my reflections, and urged its cause imperatively as a command. It was a call, to me, resistless as the voice that awoke the young Israelitish Prophet from his slumbers. In another moment the struggle with my pride was over, and my spirit answered,—I will go, even to lust-besotted Sodom if thou leadest, Light of my path! I seated myself in a street car, went to the prison, applied for the place, and obtained it. Day by day I wrote down what I saw and heard, what I said and did. Why? In obedience to the same Voice that called me to the work. The tale is before you. May it touch the heart of every one who reads the story, and melt it into a compassion which will labor for the redemption of the prisoner; into a pity which will echo around the cry—Open the prison doors, not to let the prisoner go free, but to let in, to him, the light of moral knowledge, and the discipline of Christian charity.