Womenâ€™s Prison Association Annual Review for Years 2012-2013
Georgia Lerner Executive Director
“WPA believes that a woman’s home community is the best environment in which to learn and practice constructive new behaviors, and JusticeHome allows women to serve their sentences at home and retain custody of their children.”
Dear FriendsI am pleased to share the Women’s Prison Association & Home’s (WPA’s) review of the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years. The last two years were busy for WPA: we closed a jail-based program and consolidated office space, expanded an existing program and opened a cutting-edge alternative to incarceration program, JusticeHome. WPA participated actively in public discussions about women in the criminal justice system, many of which were sparked by the Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black. As we move forward, WPA is focused on securing continued financial stability and preserving and building upon program capacity that can promote public safety by addressing the reasons that women commit crimes. WPA closed its Downtown Brooklyn office in early 2013, soon after deciding not to compete for funding under a new initiative to provide services to men and women at the City jail. After offering discharge planning and aftercare assistance to women at Rikers for many years, WPA determined that the program model being funded under the new initiative would not be viable, either financially or as a means for helping women eliminate criminal risks and promote community stability. While WPA continues to offer assistance to women at Rikers, the agency ended its major discharge planning effort there when the prior contract ended at the beginning of 2013. The end of the Rikers-based contract and two other, smaller contracts required concomitant reductions in staff, so we decided to give up our office space in Downtown Brooklyn and relocate staff to the agency’s other three community locations. In mid-2013, WPA began implementation of a unique alternative to incarceration program, JusticeHome. This groundbreaking program assesses the factors in each woman’s life that are leading her to criminal behavior and partners with her to develop goals that address those specific issues in order to reduce her involvement in future crime. WPA believes that a woman’s home community is the best environment in which to learn and practice constructive new behaviors, and JusticeHome allows women to serve their sentences at home and retain custody of their children. Participants work intensively with program staff, who help them address criminal justice-related issues while enhancing parenting and independent living skills. JusticeHome is cost effective. While it costs more than $120,000 to send a woman to jail and her children to foster care for a year, it costs less than $20,000 to address her criminal case through JusticeHome. Parental incarceration is considered an adverse childhood experience, and keeping a mother out of prison can minimize a child’s experience of trauma, shame and stigma.
In 2013, WPA expanded the Family Treatment and Rehabilitation program to accommodate more families. This neighborhood-based foster-care prevention intervention works with families to reduce risks to children while improving family function. Staff meet with family members in their homes and in other community settings, and results have been overwhelmingly positive. Maternal drug use and mental illness—major factors behind both foster care placement and arrest—and domestic violence are dramatically reduced among clients, and children demonstrate improvement in academic and social function. In the summer of 2013, millions of viewers tuned in to watch the original Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, where they learned about the challenges faced by incarcerated women. Piper Kerman, author of the memoir of the same name upon which the series is based, and Vice President of WPA’s Board of Directors, is an active participant in public discourse about women, crime and corrections. WPA joined in the conversation during 2013, as a guest on several radio and television shows, discussing specific situations and general issues of concern to women with criminal justice involvement. WPA was thrilled to partner with the show’s creator, Jenji Kohan, numerous members of the series cast and crew, and Netflix, for charitable and public events last year, all of which helped to raise awareness. Our friends at Orange is the New Black continue to support WPA through volunteer and fundraising efforts. WPA faced challenges during the past few years, forcing us to make difficult decisions. Our clients also faced challenges and made difficult decisions; their progress and successes—and their setbacks-fuel our motivation to grow. We are excited that we will open a 35bed program for homeless women with criminal justice involvement in 2014 at our historic East Village townhouse. I look forward with optimism and an unflagging commitment to the women and families who seek our help. I appreciate your interest in WPA.
WPA’S MISSION Our mission is to partner with criminal justice-involved women and their families so they can lead safe, productive and lawful lives in the community.
About WPA The Womenâ€™s Prison Association, founded in 1845, is the nationâ€™s first organization dedicated solely to working with criminal justice-involved women . Since our founding, WPA has promoted the use of holistic, community-based responses to crime. We believe that in a limited-resource environment, our interests and values are best served by helping women in the community, where they have the richest opportunities to practice doing things differently. Today our mission is to partner with criminal justice-involved women and their families so they can lead safe, productive and lawful lives in the community. Our integrated continuum of services supports women as they obtain work and safe housing, access drug treatment, physical and mental health care and rebuild their families. Our approach prioritizes working collaboratively with women and their families to define their own goals, lay out plans to achieve them and utilize an expanded realm of resources and opportunities.
Helping Women Transform Their Lives ____
WPA assists more than 1,500 women and 500 children per year from three community sites in Manhattan and East New York. WPA has jailbased offices at Rikers Island’s Rose M. Singer Center, and at Taconic and Bedford Hills Correctional Facilities. WPA helps women achieve what is most important to them. Women come to us with a variety of goals including: •
Finding safe and affordable housing
Preparing for job interviews and obtaining employment
Reunifying with their children
Complying with criminal justice mandates and living safe and law-abiding lives
Accessing addiction, physical health, and mental health services
Gaining peer support from other women
Learning household budgeting and skills for daily life
WPA works with women at all stages of criminal justice involvement. We promote alternatives to incarceration and help women living in the community to avoid arrest or incarceration by making positive changes in their lives. Inside prison and jail, we are a source of support to women and a resource to them as they plan for release. After incarceration, women come to WPA for help to build the lives they want for themselves and their families in the community.
Did you know? Experiences of interpersonal violence are clearly linked to entry into the criminal justice system. For example, women who were abused or neglected as children are twice as likely to be arrested as adults than non-abused women1. Widom, C.S. (2000). Childhood victimization and the derailment of girls and women to the criminal justice system. Plenary Papers of the 1999 Conference on Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation—Enhancing Policy and Practice Through Research, 3, 27-36.
Current Programs WPA’s programs are organized into four broad service areas including Children and Family Services, Alternative to Incarceration, Reentry Services, and Public Policy and Advocacy. Children and Family Services Sarah Powell Huntington House (SPHH) is a unique residence where homeless women with criminal justice involvement live with their children and work toward independent living. WPA staff works with families to achieve goals such as securing safe and stable housing, enrolling in school, seeking employment, finding a healthcare provider and managing the full range of day-to-day household and family challenges. Family Treatment and Rehabilitation Program (FTR) offers intensive preventive case management services to families at risk of having children removed to foster care due to neglect and abuse associated with a mother’s drug use and/or mental illness. This program, located at our Brooklyn Community Office, accepts families referred by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), other government and non profit agencies and through self referral. Alternative to Incarceration JusticeHome is a unique, community-based program designed specifically for women facing felony charges and at least six months of incarceration. Building upon WPA’s years of experience providing intensive home-based preventive child welfare services, the program features court advocacy, gender-specific assessment and intervention, referrals to specialized programs, random drug testing and regular written progress reports.
JusticeHome continued JusticeHome specialized programs, random drug testing and regular written progress reports. JusticeHome staff provides continual assessment to address family, household and community issues and coordinates with other community-based providers and court representatives involved in each woman’s case. Reentry Services HIV Services ensure that women have access to HIV testing, health care and the information they need to protect themselves and partners. Emergency Assistance includes emergency food, hygiene supplies, emergency shelter assistance and Metrocards for travel to critical services. WPA Law Project staff offer on-site legal services, primarily in family law, including child custody cases. WPA also offers assistance in understanding and navigating other civil legal issues clients may encounter, including employment and housing discrimination and domestic violence. Case Management staff work collaboratively with women to define their short- and long-term goals and create action plans to achieve them. WomenCare pairs WPA clients with volunteer mentors. By strengthening each woman’s network of pre- and post-release support, the program helps participants successfully return to their communities and establish lawabiding lives. Hopper Home Transitional Shelter, opening in 2014, will be a 36-bed homeless shelter for women with or at risk for criminal justice involvement. The program will provide transitional housing and case management to help women identify permanent community housing. WPA staff help women achieve long-term stability through access to mental health services, education, sobriety, stable housing, employment and reunification with their children. Public Policy and Advocacy The Institute on Women & Criminal Justice promotes systemic change by employing a public policy and advocacy agenda that brings new perspectives to debates on women and criminal justice. Women’s Advocacy Project (WAP) trains formerly incarcerated women to craft policy recommendations and advocate for rational system reform. Institute staff identify priority topics for research and issue periodic policy reports.
REENTRY SERVICES • From 2012 through 2013, staff helped 625 women incarcerated in New York State correctional facilities to learn their HIV status by providing anonymous HIV Counseling and Testing. • In 2013, WPA’s WomenCareRikers program matched 60 women preparing for release from Rikers Island to volunteer mentors. • Of the 88 women who participated in WomenCareRikers program, which started enrolling clients in July 2012, less than 10% have been rearrested and reincarcerated to date. (40% of women who leave Rikers return within one year.)
Financial Indicators for FY 2012 11%
2% Government contracts
Total Revenue: $5,244,103
Grants and contributions Special events
21% Program services Total Expenses $5,610,963
79% Industry standard
Charity Navigator 79%
$0.45 $0.30 17% 4% Program expenses ratio
Administrative expenses ratio
Fundraising expenses ratio
Notes and comments
Administrative expenses ratio
Percent of total functional expenses spent on programs. The higher the better. Administration as a percentage of total expenses. The lower the better.
Fundraising expenses ratio
The ratio of fundraising expenses to total expenses. The lower the better.
The amount spent to raise $1. Better Business Bureau standard is $0.45.
Program expenses ratio
The figures above represent FY2012 only. Financial statements are typically prepared on a comparative basis however FY2013 audits are still underway and the numbers are not yet finalized. For up to date financial information please go to www.wpaonline.org/financials/how-funds-are-spent.
Success Story: Michette “I need only to look at where I was before WPA to appreciate how far I’ve come.” By the time I was 23; I had 3 children from 2 different fathers, was living in my drug-addicted mother’s house and going nowhere fast. To make a quick buck, I went with a friend to transport some drugs and, in a classic case of wrong place/wrong time, I found myself in jail, facing four years to life. I was given the opportunity to participate in WPA’s alternative-toincarceration program where I started group and individual counseling. I participated in parenting groups and anger management counseling, which became the core of what I needed to succeed. I had to make changes within myself in order to comply with WPA's program, and that taught me to evaluate my life. I was forced to make life changing decisions as a result. Over time, WPA helped me become an outstanding citizen, and just as important, someone who my kids, family, and friends could be proud of. WPA was my light at the end of the tunnel. I eventually moved into WPA’s family reunification program, Huntington House, and reunited with my children. They continued teaching me how to be a better parent, gave me resources to find housing, and provided us with a food pantry and child care so we could participate in all of the programs we qualified for such as GED courses, college courses, and work experience programs. I enrolled in the Mortuary Science Program at LaGuardia Community College where I graduated with an Associate’s Degree. Next, I graduated with honors from the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service and earned my bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University. Today, I manage a funeral home in Queens and run my own funeral service business which provides services to other funeral homes. My greatest accomplishment is that I am a full time mom and proud grandmother. I am a learning leader for the New York City Board of Education, an executive board member of the PTA, a tithing member of my church, and honored to sit on the Church Council as Vice President. If it were not for WPA's programs and staff I would not have been able to accomplish many of these things. They are instrumental in teaching us how to overcome adversity and cope with our trials in life. I thank WPA for all their help and support during my time of need and I am eternally grateful for their guidance and for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself.
“If it were not for WPA's programs and staff I would not have been able to accomplish many of these things. They are instrumental in teaching us how to overcome adversity and cope with our trials in life. I thank WPA for all their help and support during my time of need and I am eternally grateful for their guidance and for believing in me when I didn't believe in myself.” Michette , former WPA client, mother, graduate, and business owner.
On June 28, 2012 WPA hosted a screening of Crime After Crime at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City. Crime After Crime documents the legal battle to free Debbie Peagler, a wrongfully imprisoned survivor of domestic violence who becomes a mentor and church leader while behind bars. After two decades of incarceration, her story takes an unexpected turn when a pair of rookie land-use attorneys steps forward to fight for her freedom. Featured speakers included Yoav Potash, Director and Joshua Safran, Attorney (both pictured). The event was co-sponsored by My Sistersâ€™ Place, The Bronx Womenâ€™s Bar Association, Rabbis for Human Rights, and The Correctional Association.
Orange is the New Black On October 1, 2013 WPA honored Jenji Kohan and Piper Kerman at Cocktails for a Cause at The Loeb Boathouse Central Park . The award was presented to Emmy Award-winner Jenji Kohan, Creator and Executive Producer of the critically acclaimed Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, for her leadership in the creative arts and her efforts to portray the struggles of incarcerated women. Piper Kerman is WPA’s Board Vice President, author of Orange is the New Black and Executive Consultant on the Netflix series based on her memoir. Through richly drawn characters, the series conveys the challenges that criminal justiceinvolved women face including cycles of poverty, abuse, and addiction.
(Left) Former WPA client, Michelle, Jenji Kohan, and Piper Kerman at WPA’s fall benefit, Cocktails for a Cause.
During the summer, cast and crew of Orange is the New Black visited WPA’s Hopper Home to assemble backpacks and school supplies for hundreds of kids returning to school. Thanks to the generous support of Netflix, Operation Backpack, and individual donors, every child enrolled in a WPA program started the school year on the right foot.
(Left) Orange is the New Black cast members Danielle Brooks, Uzo Aduba, and Alysia Reiner fill backpacks at WPA’s Hopper Home.
“Piper and Jenji have elevated the conversation about criminal justiceinvolved women. Orange is the New Black has brought into focus the devastating effects incarceration can have on women, their children, and their communities. The show offers a nuanced portrayal of an often overlooked community and has given voice to the diverse women involved in the criminal justice system.” Georgia Lerner, WPA Executive Director.
Corporate Partners Corporate partnerships allow WPA to dedicate critical funds to programs that help criminal justice-involved women and their families lead safe, productive, and lawful lives in the community. We would like to thank the following corporations that have helped make WPAâ€™s work possible in 2012 and 2013.
Provides volunteers, event sponsorship, and general operating support. Cast and crew from Orange is the New Black assembled backpacks for hundreds of kids in WPA programs.
Donates discontinued lines, samples, and products where packaging has been damaged. Volunteers provided complimentary makeovers for moms on Motherâ€™s Day.
Teaches financial literacy to moms at Huntington House, our homeless shelter for criminal justice-involved women and their children. Capital One also provides fiscal sponsorship.
Provides corporate volunteers and sponsorship. At Hopper Home, volunteers gardened, reupholstered furniture, and assembled toiletry kits for women.
Provides corporate volunteers and sponsorship. Deloitte donated a Nintendo Wii to the kids of Sarah Powell Huntington House and volunteers repainted the shelter and prepared a home cooked meal for residents.
WPA in the News ____ 8
WPA's family shelter, Huntington House, receives top ranking from NYC's Department of Homeless Services KiraKira and Orange is the New Black actress, Alysia Reiner team up to support WPA. Wall Street Journal WPA's Executive Director Georgia Lerner on NPR's Colin McEnroe Piper Kerman on NPR’s Fresh Air and her Op-Ed in the New York Times WPA's Executive Director Georgia Lerner and Board VP Piper Kerman on HuffPost Live WPA's Executive Director Georgia Lerner on The Brian Lehrer Show Launch of WPA's JusticeHome program, a first-of-its-kind, community-based alternative to incarceration program. CBS Radio Brooklyn News 12 Wall Street Journal New York Times The Daily News To read these mentions and more, please visit www.wpaonline.org/media/wpa-in-the-news
“Harshly punitive drug laws and diminishing community mental health resources have landed many women in prison who simply do not belong there, often for shockingly long sentences.” Piper Kerman, WPA Board Vice President (pictured).
Board of Directors Tina M. Daniels, President Clare Huntington, Vice President Piper Kerman, Vice President Steven B. Kauff, Treasurer Andrea M. Valentine, Secretary Bunty Armstrong Joan Findlay Dunham Miriam C. Eaves Sarah P. Fletcher Henry (Hank) Goldstein Marc Keller Bayard L. King Valerie S. Mason Sandra S. Pershing Catherine D. PradiĂŠ-Connick Idoline C. Scheerer
Honorary Council (in formation) Uzo Aduba Nancy Carr Lea DeLaria Joel Marsh Garland Mrs. Roger L. Greif Jenji Kohan Rose Lansbury Emma Myles Mrs. R. Parsons Lynch Alysia Reiner Taylor Schilling Executive Director: Georgia Lerner WPA is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is an Accredited Charity Seal Holder of the Better Business Bureau. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Womenâ€™s Prison Association 110 Second Avenue New York, NY 10003 Phone: 646.292.7742 Fax: 646.292.7763 Website: www.wpaonline.org
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Published on Apr 30, 2014