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August 10, 2006

CONTACT: Steve Tompkins
(617) 961-6650


Boston – Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral was notified this month that women’s programming at the House of Correction is receiving a financial boost. A grant from the Federal Department of Education Life Skills for State and Local Prisoners program has been awarded to the Sheriff’s Department in the amount of $473,552.

The two–year grant will be used to enhance life skills programs for all women at the House of Correction, including pretrial detainees and sentenced inmates, who will be released from the facility into the communities of Suffolk County. The Enhance Life Skills for Women (ELSW) program will provide mental health and recovery services in addition to life skills training. The Sheriff’s Department is collaborating with Project Place and the South End Community Health Center to provide the services.

Plans for the ELSW program include a Women’s Career Center that will serve up to 120 women a year and will organize bi–annual job fairs at the House of Correction, as well as gender appropriate training for staff. Females will have access to trauma, anger management, and domestic violence programs in addition to parenting, nutrition, and health classes.

“Women’s services have traditionally been overlooked in the corrections field,” said Director of Women’s Programming Christina Ruccio, who worked with grant writer Bob Gaudet to secure the funding. “Women have needs unique to that of men, and they are finally being met. This is an exciting time to be working in women’s programming.”

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department is emerging as a leader in women’s services. In May, Ruccio was invited to participate in a round table discussion on women and re–entry, held by the Crime and Justice Institute and will be presenting a workshop on the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Community Re-Entry for Women (CREW) program at the International Community Corrections Association annual conference in October. Sheriff Cabral has also taken the lead in reversing the rising rate of violent crime among young women that has been seen across the country. In June she hosted a community forum to bring the issue to the public’s attention and work is currently underway to implement an intervention program for female adolescents at risk of becoming involved in crime. Sheriff Cabral welcomed news that the Sheriff’s Department has been awarded grant funding.

“This grant will enable us to improve upon and add more resources to our existing programming for female inmates,” said Sheriff Cabral. “We are very pleased that the U.S. Department of Education supports our efforts.”

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