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September 22, 2006

CONTACT: Steve Tompkins
(617) 961-6650


Boston – In a brief ceremony held in the visiting area of the Suffolk County House of Correction, ten women graduated from the Community Re–Entry for Women (C.R.E.W.) program this afternoon. For many, it was the first graduation they had ever attended. For others, it will not be the last, thanks to the training and support offered by the innovative program.

C.R.E.W. is a first of its kind program, established under Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral, that focuses on helping female inmates transition successfully back into the community. Students participating in C.R.E.W. receive "enhanced case management services, with a focus on health care, housing, and employment needs," according to Suffolk County Women’s Programming Director Christina Ruccio. The services are made available through the program’s partnerships with the South End Community Health Center and Project Place, a multi–service agency that specializes in providing at–risk populations with education, life skills, job skills and job placement.

The eight–week program is in its second year and has been entirely funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education. In August, the Sheriff’s Department received an additional $473,552 to continue the program. To date, almost 130 women have benefited from C.R.E.W.

Participation in C.R.E.W. does not end after graduation. In addition to staying in contact with their caseworkers for two years after they are released, C.R.E.W. graduates attend "alumni meetings" every three months to offer one another support. Beginning in October, released graduates will also speak at a mothering program run by the West Roxbury District Court.

Today, however, the ten women were not thinking about caseworkers or mothering programs. Instead, they talked about their accomplishments and growth since joining the program.

"You showed us that we are someone and can do more with our lives," one graduate told the C.R.E.W. instructors through tears. "I have been incarcerated maybe thirteen times. This time when I leave, I have dreams and goals. I never imagined a program could do that for me."

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