Women’s Focus 12/29 12p: On this episode we’ll explore how Crossroads For Women helps women successfully return to the community after incarceration as part of a project of the Solutions Journalism Network. It’s a nonprofit organization that works to rebalance the news so what we read, hear, and listen to each day are not only problems, but also solutions.
While there are many more men behind bars than women, the Sentencing Project found that the rate of growth for female imprisonment has been twice as high as that of men since 1980. Incarcerated women face unique challenges, particularly with regards to trauma. A report by the Vera Institute of Justice found that 86 percent of women behind bars had experienced sexual violence. Many women try to cope with that trauma through substance abuse, which can lead to incarceration. While some correctional facilities are starting to train guards and staff on trauma, that is still rare and women in prison are punished more harshly than men, which contributes to re-traumatization.
Crossroads for Women has worked for 22 years to change outcomes for women exiting incarceration and dealing with mental health issues and substance abuse. A study by the New Mexico Sentencing Commission found arrest rates for women who graduated from Crossroads dropped significantly compared to their arrest rates prior to entering the program.
- Cory Lee, interim executive director, Crossroads for Women
- Ashley Sena, former client and current case manager, Crossroads for Women
- Marisa Sanchez, current client, Crossroads for Women
- Kelli Allen, former client and current case manager, Crossroads for Women