The P.R.E.M.I.E.R. woman is a unique component of I’m FREE. She will be empowered to be the best woman she can be. Premier is also an acronym for the phases she will go through; P for pre-release, R for release and so on.
P– Pre-release workshops are essential to building a relationship prior to her leaving the facility. We deliver six, two-hour, intensive, innovative and empowering workshops to help females who are incarcerated transition to the community. Active participation and a willingness to change criminogenic behaviors may lead to an invitation to participate in I’m FREE’s wraparound support after release.
R – Released from prison at any time of the day or night, we will meet her at the gate and take her to a safe place that she has pre-identified. Program participants are offered a Dignity Bag, a duffle bag with the basic necessities that she will need upon her release. We commit to working with her offering time management, decision making skills and general support during the critical first weeks out. A recent study showed that those released from correctional institutions are at a higher risk of death within the first two weeks, (American Journal of Epidemiology, online February 13, 2012).
E – Empowerment training continues after her release. Understanding that adult learner’s process information differently than others, I’m FREE uses a series of non-threatening activities, workshops, lectures, hands-on-training and group exercises that are designed to aid participants in strengthening their cognitive, social and emotional development. They include, but are not limited to: GED Preparation, College Readiness Skills, Career Assessments, Vocational Training, Job Readiness Skills, Life Coaching, Motivational Workshops, Intensive Interpersonal and Social Skills Training, Volunteer Opportunities, Mentoring, Money Management Skills and Parenting Classes.
M – Mentor/mentee relationships are important while mending bridges. She will work with a mentor and later, pay it forward to a mentee, in a new women coming home. Serving in this role allows her to act as a peer mentor, feel needed and be held accountable in her own healing process.
I – Informed, improved and independent is how she will describe herself. Women will gain access to resources and learn how to navigate and advocate for themselves.
E – Engaged, empowered and equipped is how she will emerge from I’m FREE. Women will be engaged in their communities, empowered to know that she is not her crime and equipped to answer questions about her conviction with dignity and grace.
R – Re-acclimation, Reentry, Reunification we understand that the passageway from dependence to independence can be a tumultuous journey, unsure and sometimes overwhelming for many women. Our services are intended to facilitate physical, emotional and spiritual healing in a safe and mutually supportive community. Parenting classes work with mothers, children and their caretakers to assist in the reunification process.