Through our programs, B.I.R.D. Ministries provides much needed support both to women in prison and those who have recently been released.
We believe that a change in a person's behavior begins in the heart. Without a moral and spiritual change of the heart, our clients will likely return to the life they knew before they were incarcerated, one that will lead to additional criminal activities. Our training materials and workshops are based on biblical principles and examples. Our materials combine both the spiritual and practical to present a balanced approach to life; one that encourages the women to seek not only practical growth, but also spiritual and emotional growth that will come from a close relationship with God.
Upon release, aftercare services offer both supportive relationships and referrals for needed services through a network of resources - from social service agencies to faith-based ministries and churches. Services include housing assistance, employment counseling, transportation, continuing education, drug and alcohol treatment and counseling. Many of the woman struggle with low self worth, depression or other mental health issues, addictions, physical, emotional or sexual abuse, and an array of behaviors and life issues that keep them in a cycle of failure and despair. Providing the women with the wraparound of essential services and the love, care and nurture they need is a key part of aftercare.
Women in Prison
- Close to 70% of women incarcerated are serving time for drug related offenses;
- 80% of the women in prison are single mothers and 70% of these women were the primary caregivers prior to incarceration;
- Nearly 1.5 million children are the "hidden victims of crime" having a parent in prison, making parental criminality a common childhood experience; the children of inmates are six times more likely than average to serve time in prison;
- Women in prison report significant histories of physical and sexual abuse at a rate over 80% the rate of female non-offenders;
- The average age of the women in prison is 29, 36% are white, 52% are black, and 12% Hispanic
- Women offenders have a higher incidence of physical health problems than men and are affected by certain diseases at a greater rate than men (eating disorders, HIV and STDs)
- The Department of Justice report that approximately 66% of the men and women released each year will return to prison within three years and some reports indicate the rate for women to be as high as 72%.