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Formerly Incarcerated Women Can Thrive Through ARC  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Bonnie Boswell (photo courtesy)

“I won it!” These were words shared with me by a young mother who had been struggling for four years to regain custody of her son. For the past few weeks, Bonnie Boswell Reports has been telling the story of this former inmate who rebuilt her life to get her 6-year-old son back.

She had a difficult but heroic journey. After her release from prison, this young lady found an apartment through the Brilliant Corners housing agency. But to continue to stabilize her life, she turned to the Coalition Against Recidivism (ARC) in downtown Los Angeles.

ARC provided her with professional training, personal counseling and certification to become a substance abuse counselor. She got a car, a job and opened a college fund for her son. However, the court rejected her appeal several times.

ARC CEO Sam Lewis became her mentor. His constant advice: “Patience and prayer.” But Sam also took action. “She just didn’t seem to be getting a fair shake,” he said. So, Sam and others from the ARC are working to provide the necessary legal support. And she won her battle for custody – finally. But not every mother who has been behind bars is so happy.

The Prison Policy Initiative reports that during the past Mother’s Day (2022), 150,000 mothers were in prison in the United States. Over 58% of women in prisons are mothers; 80% are in prison and awaiting trial because they cannot afford bail.

The same report estimates that 58,000 women become pregnant each year when they go to prison. And while the US Department of Labor has announced new funding for ex-prisoners, it is important to pay special attention to women’s issues.

Justice Quarterly research suggests that poverty, substance abuse and past victimization disproportionately affect women. Women are often the main concern for their children. Parental imprisonment has a profound effect on children, including lower educational attainment, more mental health problems such as fear, anxiety, anger and depression.

When the mother is affected by the justice system, the whole family is affected. Fortunately, there are encouraging examples, such as the one above, of how to help ex-prisoners prosper.

There must be more. Watch “Challenging Recidivism” on Bonnie Boswell Reports, Friday at 2:58 PM on KCET and kcet.org/bonnie

Formerly Incarcerated Women Can Thrive Through ARC  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link Formerly Incarcerated Women Can Thrive Through ARC  – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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