The Women in Transition project is a collaborative initiative whose mission is to shed light on and work toward reducing the specific and unique barriers that women face when transitioning from prison back to their families and communities. We realize that the specific and unique needs of women are often not well understood nor adequately addressed in current transitioning programs, both inside the fence and out. This project attempts to identify those unique issues as experienced through the lives of women at various stages of the transitioning process in order to help inform others working in the field, policy makers, and the ever growing number of women facing these challenges.
As a result of this on-going project, we were invited to take part in a major international conference, International Correctional Education Association to held in Arlington, Virginia July 12 – 15, 2015, where we presented stories and discussed needed changes as transition programs are planned and developed.
Women are the fastest growing population in prisons across the country. Like males, females involved with the criminal justice system face many challenges upon release and reentry to their communities. However, our current programs inside and outside of prison do not adequately address the issues women face, and if left unaddressed, will only lead to further involvement with the criminal justice system. Gender-responsive programs and policies are needed to address the inequalities and unfair policies that face women as they transition. For many women, their primary concern upon release is how to reestablish relationships with their children and what steps need to be taken to regain custody. We know that these issues are not addressed in programming inside prison that is meant to prepare inmates for reentry.
We believe that more work needs to be done to uncover root causes to those barriers and to identify successful strategies to help women overcome and cope with those barriers. And finally, we believe that outdated and harmful policies that perpetuate unnecessary barriers to full reintegration and continue to imprison women after release need to be changed. Those whose lives are bound by those policies can tell us best.
Read more and listen to samples of what women transitioning have to say…