Alexandria, Virginia- OAR is a local non-profit that supports individuals impacted by the criminal legal system on their journey to rejoining their community and families. The organization is now raising money for the state’s first gender-responsive re-entry program.
Individuals who identify as female have a different set of needs and different reentry experiences from those who identify as male. For example, the majority of women who experience incarceration are primary caregivers to minor children and a crucial part of the re-entry process requires supporting their needs as the head of a family. They are also much more likely than their male-identifying counterparts to have experienced a long history of abuse prior to incarceration. Therefore, tailored services that address that trauma lead to the best outcomes.
Unfortunately, this critical care is scarce or unavailable. A recent assessment of gender-responsive policies and practices in the City of Alexandria found a dearth of gender responsive care in the area. OAR’s new program seeks to fill that void. It will provide gender-responsive and liberation-minded therapeutic services, including individual and group psychotherapy, tailored case management plans, and family reunification support to female-identifying individuals who are coming home to Alexandria, Arlington, and the City Falls Church after experiencing incarceration. Some participants may also enroll in a guaranteed basic income pilot program that provides a monthly stipend over the course of 5 months.
“Women coming out of incarceration have typically suffered multiple lifetime traumas that can disrupt successful reintegration into their families and communities,” says Katy Steinbruck, a 22-year member of the OAR collective who is spearheading the program. “By using innovative support plans that address the distinct pathways to incarceration and rehabilitation experienced by those who identify as female, we can provide our participants with the services that actually meet their needs.”
OAR’s program has enrolled 20 women since its launch on April 19th of this year and is regularly fielding requests to take on more. To that end, OAR is seeking additional grant funding to expand the number of participants this program can serve. It must raise $6,000 by August 12 in order to qualify for a $100,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation. Donations can be made until 9PM (EST) on August 12 at the website link below. Additionally, information on how to provide ongoing donations to the program, or any of OAR’s other programs, can be found at OAR’s general website: www.oaronline.org.
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