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Legislation To Create A Commission On Re-Entry Service For Women

June 17, 2022

For Immediate Release
June 17, 2022
Contact: Amanda Farnan, or (202) 355-8431

Councilmember Christina Henderson Introduces Transformative Legislation to Create a Commission on Re-Entry Service For Women

Washington DC – Today, Councilmember Christina Henderson introduced the Commission on Re-Entry Services for Women Amendment Act of 2022. This legislation would create a Commission on Re-Entry Services for Women focused on supporting formerly incarcerated women while identifying solutions that would best facilitate successful reintegration into communities in the District of Columbia.

“Every individual who has served their time deserves a fair chance to thrive in the District of Columbia once they return home. We know that women experience incarceration differently than men, and our re-entry services should reflect this reality,” said Councilmember Christina Henderson. “This legislation would establish a group to think critically about and advise DC government on the unique needs facing women who are returning citizens.”

A 2016 report from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee on DC women in prison shows that among those in federal prison, 80.9% reported living with at least one child prior to incarceration, compared to just 54.7% of men. Additionally, three times as many women when compared to men have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence prior to incarceration. Further, the prevalence of sexual abuse while incarcerated is higher for women compared to men. Incarcerated women live through very different circumstances before, during, and after prison, however the majority of reintegration programs are tailored to men.

To improve the reunification process with women, their families, and their communities, and reduce recidivism rates, we must provide returning women with the appropriate social supports, material resources, and organizational benefits necessary for them to truly thrive.

This legislation would create a Commission on Re-Entry Services for Women which would:

  • Identify gender-responsive and evidence-based practices that correctional facilities and community-based providers should consider in supporting women that are returning citizens;
  • Identify specific services that address the physical, emotional, and psychological challenges women face prior, during, and after incarceration; and required for successful re-entry and reintegration; and
  • Examine workforce development, education, and housing opportunities that are tailored to women.

The Commission on Re-Entry Services for Women Amendment Act of 2022 is co-introduced by Councilmembers Mary M. Cheh, Anita Bonds, Brooke Pinto, Janeese Lewis George, Brianne K. Nadeau, Robert C. White Jr., Kenyan R. McDuffie, and Vincent C. Gray. I look forward to working with my Council colleagues to advance this measure and improve food security for vulnerable residents in the District.