What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Our partners at Solutions U — from the Solutions Journalism Network — have compiled a collection of articles highlighting the landscape of female incarceration and the programs that show promise.
• What can funders do to address this issue? How can we learn from what works and attempt to replicate such models?
• Learn how one partnership, Unlocked Futures, is supporting entrepreneurs impacted by the criminal justice system.
In this collection I wanted to capture the complex reality of many women who serve time in prison, especially since the rates of female incarceration continue to rise. Many women end up in abusive relationships where drugs are involved, and that sets them on a path to prison. Some of the most successful solutions are based on helping them come to terms with what happened in their past and how it drives their choices. Programs are also focused on helping them build healthy relationships and recovering self-esteem.
In Dallas, a program aimed at sex workers tries to divert women from the prison system. It can be a tough sell for women who are very damaged and feel they have few options, but it helps that the program includes former sex workers who can meet the women on their level and with some credibility since they were also once in the same place.
A program in Philadelphia works with women on something called cognitive shifting to help them understand the forces that determined the choices they made.
One county in Oklahoma is bucking the state's very high incarceration rate for women. Court judges now hand down shorter sentences combined with other types of supervision. This includes a program that offers intensive drug counseling, life skills classes, and connections to employment.
Read the full collection about solutions to women and incarceration by Megan Kamerick at Solutions U.