Reentry Services Center
WPA promotes successful transition from prison to the community by educating women about what to expect upon release and helping them plan for the transition while they are still in prison. Pre-Release Planning helps a woman begin the process of obtaining the official documents she will need to secure benefits and find work, to determine where she will reside, and to arrange appointments for substance abuse treatment, relapse prevention counseling, mental health treatment, and primary medical care. WPA's facilities and community-based HIV Education and Testing ensure that an incarcerated woman has the information she needs to protect herself and any partners and learn of her HIV status. If positive, WPA helps her connect to health care, and, whether positive or negative, we offer counseling on decreasing HIV transmission risk for herself and others. After release from jail or prison, a staff member will meet a woman not being accompanied home by family at the prison gate and provide one-on-one emotional and concrete support during the first days and months outside. At the Reentry Services Center in downtown Brooklyn, she can attend a weekly orientation session and access Emergency Assistance--food, hygiene supplies, a Metrocard to make appointments with critical service providers, and emergency shelter--to meet her most immediate needs. In addition, she can connect to individualized Case Management and work collaboratively with a staff member over a period of several months to define and achieve short-term goals that promote stability in the community and longer-term efforts toward self-sufficiency. The on-site WPA Law Project attorney will assist her with understanding and navigating civil legal systems, including the child welfare system, housing, public assistance, and employment. Many women find additional support through the WomenCare program, which pairs WPA clients on parole with volunteer mentors in the community. Women who are to be released on parole within four months from Bedford Hills, Taconic, Beacon, and Bayview Correctional are eligible to enroll in the program. By strengthening each woman's network of pre- and post-release support, the program helps participants to successfully return to their communities and establish law-abiding lives.
Women with a history of criminal justice involvement.