SERVICES for Post Custody Female Offenders
Rewind On Recidivism: Incarcerated Female Offenders: The exploiting gaps in the criminal justice system, predators are targeting some of the country’s most vulnerable and isolated women, trapping many in an endless loop of Human Trafficking. The first stage involves finding potential victims. Anyone charged with a criminal offence will have their personal data posted on government websites. The information can include mugshots, home addresses and details of criminal records. Details of arrests and charges are also printed in local newspapers and social media. Often these women are coerced and fed drugs that ended in false “prostitution” or drug charges and now have a criminal record.
The impact of having a criminal record often makes it impossible for women leaving incarceration to find employment and safe housing, or to regain custody of their children.
In many facilities, anybody can send money to an inmate. This means that many women are, in effect, financially supported through incarceration by men on the outside, who then demand repayment when they are released. Traffickers begin grooming with writing letters and giving small amounts of money while the offenders are still incarcerated. Often these traffickers are imprisoned themselves and have recruiters running their business behind bars grooming offenders before release. Many women have no family or a place to return to, thus giving them no option to walk out from the facility to a car awaiting them and right back into trafficking.
There must be more safe homes available for continued rehabilitation and programs educating Human Trafficking before an offender is released. There is an urgent need for staff training and more interventions to support women, participating in anti-trafficking training and awareness designed to educate staff and inmates about human trafficking. There is little awareness that many women in a trafficking situation are also forced into many different illegal activities, which make them a target for re-arrest by the police.
Trafficking Survivors and Incarcerated Offenders both deserve our full attention with program needs. We must give them an opportunity to strive as this is the generation that will one day be taken care of and will lead this country.