We are a non-profit organization and support group operating in the Greater Los Angeles Area. Life Under Construction was created to support, empower, and educate incarcerated, marginalized, racialized, and transitional women. No woman should be defined by the mistakes of their past. It is our belief that everyone deserves to lead a happy, productive, and fulfilling life. We are fully aware of the difficulty relating to reintegration back into their community, and society as a whole, after incarceration. Our foundation is created to assist women in providing that “second chance” without judgement that is needed.
The transition from prison to halfway houses and from prison and halfway houses back to the community is daunting. Women from California prisons face a lack of mental health support, social support, hygiene, and lack of training. The lack of aid in the prison system is a travesty. Upon learning of the negative experiences brought on by their respective probation and parole officers, and the societal judgment they face, we decided to do something. As a foundation for women, we aim to offer support for incarcerated women and their transition back to daily routine.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than half (67.5%) of the persons annually released from prison in America are rearrested within 3 years of their release from incarceration. Women and men returning from incarceration rarely have sufficient education, training or skill-sets that would enable them to obtain livable wage employment. Many of our women have difficulty obtaining minimum wage employment because most employers are still not “background friendly”.
Also, women who happen to be the key parent, go to women prisons where they come out more criminally-inclined and exasperated. Their children end up in Foster Care, with little chance of getting them back on release. There is no help or guidance for these women. It is common that past behaviors like abuse, or mental health problems are the cause of incarceration in the first place.
The chart below provides a detailed view of the 172,700 women and girls incarcerated in the United States, and how they fit into the even broader picture of correctional control. The data was pulled from a number of government agencies and breaks down the number of women and girls held by each correctional system by specific offense. This Chart produced in collaboration with the ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice, shows why and where women are locked up.