A growing body of research, and our experiences since 2009, have made one thing crystal clear: Women in prison have lived through some of the toughest situations. They are often one and the same as women who survive intimate partner violence and the adults who have lived through foster care. While statistics on women in prison are rare, one study conducted in New York found that 82% of women prisoners suffered serious physical or sexual abuse as children. Another, national study found that nearly 8 in 10 female mentally ill inmates report physical or sexual abuse. In fact, much of the addiction phenomenon results from an effort to self-medicate undiagnosed mental illness or trauma.
Additionally, empowering women re-entering society has strong and important ripple effects: They become active mothers, daughters, aunts, and friends again, as well as returning to work and earning a living. LEAP gives them tools that only help them gain employment, but also help them to care for their families and become active in our communities.
If you agree that empowering women leaving prison is an important mission, consider donating or becoming a mentor.