"I was a victim of domestic violence and I'm here to speak for victims who can't speak for themselves," Hills said as she gave her opening remarks.
Offenders sat up in their chairs and leaned in closer to hear Hills relay her personal story of physical abuse, vindication, and the long road of healing to overcome the psychological effects of abuse.
Hills explained that as she prepared for the presentation she discovered a correlation between offenders' incarceration and her preparation for a quarter-mile race.
"There are three stages that I go through to run a race," Hills told them. "In the first stage I have to get myself together mentally and decide to do this ... your first stage began the day you were caught. You had to mentally prepare yourself to serve time.
"The second stage is signing up and preparing for the race," she continued. "Your second stage began the day that you were sentenced. Your preparation, hopefully, has been the successful completion of programs and classes such as this."
She told them their next challenge is running the race.
"The third and final stage begins when I'm standing at the starting line and the gun sounds off," Hill said. "That's when I'll apply everything that I've learned and all my training will be evident as I run to win the race.
"Your third stage, or race, begins the day you're released. You have to be trained and committed to using what you've you learned on the outside. Winning the race, for you, is not to re-offend."
She continued by stressing the importance of forgiveness.
"You have to forgive yourself to heal. Don't let your mistakes keep you from moving on or helping others," Hills said.
Hills told offenders that she had addressed the General Assembly as an advocate for victims of domestic violence, served as a domestic violence panelist and championed causes that promote teen self-esteem and the prevention and awareness of domestic violence.
However, she considered earning a bachelor's degree, while working a fulltime job and raising children as a single parent, her greatest achievement.
"If I can do it, so can you," Hills said.
Pre-release Re-entry, coordinated by Kelli Searing, is a 30-day program for offenders who are approaching their release date. Representatives from various agencies and self-help groups facilitate classes that are designed to teach the offender skills and provide information to assist the offender with a successful reintegration into the community.