The population of women in American state prisons has increased by more than 800% in the past four decades. The number of women in local jails is 14 times higher than it was in the 1970s. Most of these women haven’t been convicted of a crime but are too poor to post bail while awaiting trial. The majority have been charged with low-level, nonviolent offenses, such as drug possession, shoplifting, and parole violations. The result is that more than a quarter of a million children in the U.S. have a mother in jail. How did this national disgrace happen? And more importantly, what can be done to turn it around?
Nowhere is the problem starker than in Oklahoma, which has the highest rate of women’s incarceration in the nation; 85% of whom are mothers. This New Yorker article is about the efforts of a Tulsa organization called Still She Rises that aids incarcerated mothers in Oklahoma.
Read the full article by Sarah Stillman – The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/11/05/americas-other-family-separation-crisis
On September 26, 2018, Mary Falcon, Safer Society’s Executive Director, and Erika Linskey, Director of Safer Society’s New Circle Mentoring Program, presented a live one-hour webinar sponsored by the Global Institute of Forensic Research (GIFR).
Mary began the presentation by talking about chronic trauma and ten adverse childhood experiences—ranging from abuse and neglect and to parental violence and incarceration—that were the subjects of a years-long study by the Kaiser Foundation and the Federal Centers for Disease Control. She explained how adverse childhood experiences effect a child’s brain architecture and negatively impact upon a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Erika then talked about Safer Society’s trauma-informed New Circle Mentoring Program—which focuses on children of incarcerated parents—and how the innovative structure and approach of this program can be adapted for use with all high-risk children. Erika and Mary then fielded questions posed by the live audience.
We are proud to announce that the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation Community Action Team has decided to continue supporting the New Circle Mentoring program by awarding Safer Society a second grant! The $1,500 grant will help further Safer Society Foundation’s mission of mitigating the impact of mass incarceration on American children and their families by enlarging the scope of the New Circle Mentoring program, which is specifically designed to meet the needs of children who have at least one parent in jail or prison.
“The Ben & Jerry’s Foundation was one of our first supporters when we established the mentoring program in 2017,” said New Circle Mentoring Program Director Erika Linskey. “We are very pleased that the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation chose to continue to support our program as we enter into our second year of operation.”
The mission of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation is to engage Ben & Jerry’s employees in philanthropy and social change work; to give back to our Vermont communities; and to support grassroots activism and community organizing for social and environmental justice around the country.
Community Action Teams (CATs) fund an array of community programs – social services organizations, cultural, recreational, or arts programs and community celebrations located within the state of Vermont. The CATs pay special attention to underserved populations including seniors, at-risk youth and low income communities. The CATs prioritize support for basic human needs and the needs of underserved areas of the state as well as organizations that are primarily volunteer-led.
Visit benandjerrysfoundation.org or call 802-846-1500 for more information.
Safer Society Foundation recently received a $2,500 grant from the Walter Cerf Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation. The grant will help further Safer Society Foundation’s mission of mitigating the impact of mass incarceration on American children and their families by enlarging the scope of the New Circle Mentoring program, which is specifically designed to meet the needs of children who have at least one parent in jail or prison.
“The goal of the New Circle Mentoring program is to increase the resilience and create the community connections our mentees need to overcome the obstacles they face to becoming emotionally and mentally healthy adults, and to support them continuously as they do so.” Erika Linskey – Program Director
The Walter Cerf Community Fund was established in 2001 as a permanent endowment to continue Mr. Cerf’s legacy of generosity in Addison County and beyond. The Fund makes grants to address charitable needs in Vermont, especially for the arts, education, historic preservation, and social services with a focus on grantmaking in Addison County and Brandon.
The mission of the Safer Society Foundation’s Fay Honey Knopp Institute is to continue our founder’s work of prison reform advocacy, with special emphasis on mitigating the impact of mass incarceration on the millions of American children and families effected by parental incarceration.
The Vermont Community Foundation inspires giving and brings people and resources together to make a difference in Vermont. A family of hundreds of funds and foundations, we provide the advice, investment vehicles, and back-office expertise that make it easy for the people who care about Vermont to find and fund the causes they love.
The heart of the Community Foundation’s work is closing the opportunity gap—the divide that leaves too many Vermonters struggling to get ahead, no matter how hard they work. We are aligning our time, energy, and discretionary resources on efforts that provide access to early care and learning, pathways to college and career training, support for youth and families, and community and economic vitality. We envision Vermont at its best—where everyone has the opportunity to build a bright, secure future.
Visit vermontcf.org or call 802-388-3355 for more information.