Women who have spent time in prison, often have a much harder time reentering society than men do. There is much stigma placed on women who have spent time in prison and have been separated from their children, family, friends, and support groups. Many of these women suffer from depression, ill-health, and mental health.
The Females Reentering Empowering Each Other, known as I’m FREE, works with women who have been incarcerated in Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey by helping them achieve self-sustaining lifestyles. The organization offers year-long residential training to assist women who have recently been released from the judicial system and are members of the Council for Returning Citizens at Resources for Human Development.
The mission of I’m FREE is to help women reconnect with society and family and to revitalize their sense of purpose and to teach skills to help free their thinking and attitude from the chains of an institutionalized way of thinking.
I’m FREE uses innovative techniques to provide gender-specific and specialized services for women. This includes housing (both transitional and permanent), educational access for employment opportunities, work-readiness training, therapeutic counseling, and also includes parenting skills and life skills.
“To create an innovative, interactive business model using best practices and infusing therapeutic and holistic approaches to guide formerly incarcerated women to self-sustaining lifestyles.”
The I’m FREE program consists of three phases and takes place within one year. The program is designed as an empowerment training process that includes housing and guidance where they can learn healthy behaviors, achieve active employment, and build strong support systems to become productive members of society. This type of training can greatly reduce recidivism rates.
Phase One begins with pre-release where female offenders are oriented to the services.
Phase Two is considered post-release and offers transitional housing, economic development, self-sufficiency training, and empowerment training.
Phase Three is a follow-up to make sure the women involved in the program are staying on a healthy track.
What a great organization I’m FREE is helping these women through a very difficult time in their lives, helping them reconnect with family, society, and themselves.