Justice-involved women face a number of barriers to rebuilding their lives after incarceration. Through this programming participants will have access to essential information about local services and resources that can support them in rebuilding their lives. The core sessions cover topics like housing, employment, and education, as well as relationships with oneself and others (including healthy vs. unhealthy relationships, self-esteem and coping mechanisms, and reuniting with children). The initial round of 8 sessions is ongoing and will conclude in July 2022. In addition to repeating these with new groups later on, other planned topics include an essay skills workshop to prepare the women for various applications or potential college courses, and creative writing to counter stigmas about women and incarceration.
By equipping the participants with information and writing skills, their ability to successfully return to their respective communities upon release is greatly enhanced. Each woman will know where to go for support around housing, employment, and other necessities that provide stability in their lives. The positive impact will also extend to their loved ones, especially any children they may have been separated from, who may be able to return to their care.
I am a Chicago Area Schweitzer Program Fellow for the 2022-2023 program year. All Fellows design and implement a community service project; mine is to facilitate a Reentry Program at Cook County Jail Women's Division.
UPDATE November 2022
I wanted to update you that thanks to the grant, I was able to give out care packages for the ladies in my groups at Cook County Jail earlier this week! There were three options that I put together based on the preferences the ladies had. These will allow the ladies to feel clean and style their hair, which may seem like a small thing, but in the dehumanizing jail environment it can make a huge difference. I handed out about 25 care packages and had a few more left over, they will go to whoever joins the groups next.
Funded by Chicago, IL (July 2022)