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Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women (IPMW) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to build bridges of hope for women in prison before and after release through chaplaincy services, transitional programs and reentry support. The overarching goal of the organization is to provide a long-term solution to helping women stay out of prison through a new understanding of self, self-discipline, spiritual and religious grounding, emotional literacy training, leadership development, job and life skills, accountability, responsibility, practical assistance, strong support systems and love. Since 1977, thousands of adult women have received services from the organization. In the past year, our work has broadened to include a small but increasing number of women from other prisons as well as local jails. IPMW is unique both in our access to all the women of the Raleigh Unit while they are still in prison, and because our offerings are specific to women.
Chaplaincy programs, services and support: The bedrock of our services throughout our 38-year history, IPMW’s chaplaincy programs meet the religious, spiritual and pastoral needs of incarcerated women and provide nurturing accountability and support as they transition back into their families and communities. Ongoing classes in the prison include the Life Recovery 12-step program; Project TURN, through which Duke Divinity students come into the prison to learn alongside incarcerated women in a masters-level course; and different forms of bible study. Special initiatives this year included a Domestic Violence/Breast Cancer walk and symposium that included the Superintendent of the prison as the keynote speaker.
Transition education: IPMW is unique in our marriage of evidence-based practice within the domain of prison ministry. Among other initiatives, our Friday JobStart curriculum offers tools and support for women to learn how to confront themselves and their situations with honesty, compassion and forgiveness and improve their decision-making skills. Through JAGS (Job Accountability Group Support) Transition Night, JobStart graduates receive instruction and an opportunity meet with mentors prior to their release.
Reentry Support: IPMW also is unique in offering comprehensive array of mentoring services along with case management, practical assistance and subsidized housing for women as they are being released from prison.
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