According to the Prison Policy Initiative women make up 1 in 8 individuals released from state prisons every year, totaling 1.9 million women released from prisons and jails annually. Yet often the re-entry needs of these women are overlooked, despite being distinctly different needs from men. Such needs include treatment of past trauma, substance abuse disorders, escaping poverty, and meeting the needs of their children and their families. The Prisoner Reentry Institute report found that homelessness and the lack of stable housing as the largest problem facing women in New York City upon release, reporting that 80% of women at Rikers Island reported needing assistance to find housing upon release. According to a 2006 California study, over 70% of formerly incarcerated women had experienced homelessness and over 40% were currently homeless.
Spotlighting these women and their stories is the key for change, “Unmasking Bias: Stories and Strategies for Women Re-Entering Society from Mass Incarceration” with speaker Michelle Fine seeks to do just that in this panel discussion weaving personal narrative and community research on solidarity and social equity. Fine, a Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center, scholar, expert witness in litigation, a teacher and an educational activist, with an intentional focus on questions of justice and dignity, privilege and oppression is joined by three research collaborators; Kathy Boudin, Co-Director/Co-Founder of the Center for Justice at Columbia University, Judith Clark, recently released after 38 years in prison, and Cheryl Wilkins, co-founder and Associate Director of Columbia University’s Center for Justice and the Director of the Women Transcending Program.
This series is hosted by the Diversity Committee with the Lifelong Peer Learning Program at The Graduate Center, CUNY.
Download the event flyer.