In January 2013, a group of female returning citizens participated in the Community Justice Advisory Network (CJAN) meeting at the Sixth District Police Department to share their experiences with the criminal justice system and the reentry process. That meeting of the minds translated into the development of The WIRE – Women Involved in Reentry Efforts. As momentum continued to grow, The WIRE held its’ first focus group in June 2013 with the DC Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs (MORCA).
Quickly following the focus group, The WIRE began forming its’ support network. Between August to October 2013, The WIRE coordinated three separate outreach events to incarcerated women who were preparing for reentry. In August 2013, The WIRE visited women preparing for release from the Bureau of Prison’s (BOP) Secure Female Facility (SFF) Hazelton in Bruceton Mills, WV and shared reentry resources and personal experiences. The WIRE continued these efforts in September 2013 by speaking to women in the Fairview Halfway House in Washington, DC to discuss strategies for a successful reintegration back into society. The Women of the WIRE were also able to visit women in the Jessup Maryland Correctional institution (MCI) to provide information and peer support as they prepare for the reentry process.
In October 2013, The WIRE also facilitated a panel discussion with practitioners in community organizations who work with female returning citizens to raise awareness about the gender-specific concerns women face when they are released from incarceration.
Finally, The WIRE was able to end its’ incredible first year by eliminating barriers to family reunification. In November 2013, The WIRE successfully organized a family reunification trip to SFF Hazelton in support of National Children’s Day, taking over 20 children to visit their mothers around the holidays.