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November 15, 2006

CONTACT: Steve Tompkins
(617) 961-6650


Unveiling a new women’s programming model Monday, November 13, Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral welcomed approximately thirty guests from community based organizations, health centers, and other Massachusetts Sheriff’s Departments to the South Bay House of Correction. Many of the attendees had helped the Sheriff’s Department design the new programming model over the last two years.

The model includes three phases that are completed by all female inmates and detainees at the House of Correction, focusing on issues that most frequently lead to female crime and giving individualized support. For most of the women, this requires addiction treatment, parenting classes, and addressing the trauma of physical or sexual abuse. In the past, women at South Bay have received programming that focuses on education, employment, and housing– areas that most male inmates need to address.

“Traditionally, women simply have been plugged into a male model of re–entry,” explained Sheriff Cabral, adding that her goal was to identify factors that lead to female crime and recidivism. It has been an objective of Sheriff Cabral’s to restructure women’s programming since she took office in 2002.

The three–phase system, based on a similar model used by the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, begins addressing women’s needs as soon as they are incarcerated. The first phase includes a thorough assessment of each individual’s education levels and the circumstances that likely lead her to crime. The second phase is a two–week seminar on addiction recovery, re–entry, domestic violence, and anger management, stressing the importance of programming as part of a successful re–entry. Finally, in phase three, each woman begins to follow an Individual Service Plan (ISP), which outlines the classes and programs that are best suited to each woman’s needs.

During the kick–off celebration on Monday, Sheriff Cabral presented a short video featuring interviews with several female inmates. They told stories of how they became involved in crime and the plans they have for their re–entry. One woman, who has been to jail at least four times, thought she would never be able to break the cycle of crime and incarceration without the strategies laid out by the new programming model.

“I was [at the House of Correction] in 1995, 1996, 1998… And I never stopped because I never had anyone to talk to or help me,” she said. “This time, I’m getting help and building back my dignity. Now I know that I have potential. I can do anything.”

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