By J. Zamgba Browne
City Hall has launched a set of new initiatives aimed at breaking the cycle of incarceration for women in New York City. First Lady Chirlane McCray explained the following about the initiatives:
The administration would be able to expand programming to support family connections and resilience, enhance critical behavioral health services and create a network of re-entry services that help women and their families stabilize and prevent future returns to jail.
“Women in prison have unique needs and challenges while they are incarcerated. The majority of women on Rikers Island are parents and often also primary caretakers of a loved one, which means a woman‘s imprisonment has a profound effect on their families and communities.
“Women need services that are gender responsive while they are incarcerated and as they navigate their reconnection to their children and families,” said First Lady McCray, who spearheads the City’s mental health and substance misuse efforts.
She added that “with this investment, we will ensure that women in prison get the behavioral health services they need to maintain healthier relationships with their children and provide families with better wraparound supports.”
Mayor de Blasio added his voice to the efforts saying that “one of the greatest joys of my life was watching my kids grow up. Jail should not stop a mother from spending time with her child or drive a wedge between families,” said the Mayor.
He added that in the last four years, New York City has made significant, system-changing investments to ensure that fewer people enter jails and that those who do have access to the therapeutic, educational and vocational services they need.