LEAP Stops Prison Recidivism in its Tracks
Mentoring and entrepreneurship give female inmates a new lease on life.
While the United States has less than 5% of the world’s population, it is home to 25% of the world’s prison population. For most of America’s
And recently released women face unique obstacles when reentering society. Many had been homeless or victims of domestic abuse before incarceration, most leave prison with only the clothes on their backs. Sadly, they can’t even find refuge in a
The Leap to Freedom
“There’s more to life than just returning to prison,
Indeed, when a graduate of the LEAP program walks out of Homestead Correctional Institution she is proudly welcomed at the prison gate by her program mentor, and presented with the essentials necessary to make a new start– transportation, clothing, toiletries, a cell phone, and employment and housing resources. Over her last 8 months in prison, she will have worked with her mentor to complete 300 program hours acquiring essential life skills to meet the challenges of the outside world and build a new life—including 10 weeks of business classes with a professor from Barry University’s Entrepreneurial Institute, during which she is guided to develop and write her own business plan. As a result, graduates of the LEAP program have a recidivism rate* of only 5%–less than one-tenth that of the national average.
The Power to Change, the Power to Make Money, the Power to Do Good.
Tarshea Sanderson is one of LEAP’s proudest success stories. After graduating from the in-prison program and her release from Homestead, Tarshea was mentored by Mahlia Lindquist, who found her temporary housing and introduced her to the Center for Social Change (C4SC). Tarshea began volunteering with the center’s member organizations to gain valuable experience and boost her hiring
One of her first assignments was supporting the establishment of Sacred House, a housing partnership between
“I tell them that nothing comes easy, and if you want something you must do whatever it takes to make your dreams a reality,” Tarshea says. “In April of 2017, I finally opened my own business. I used the skills I learned in
LEAP recently celebrated a launch of its own, opening a high-end thrift store that provides employment opportunities for its graduates, and economic support for its mission.