Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced yesterday that he will launch a program allowing mothers convicted of nonviolent crime to serve their sentences at home, in an effort to help single mothers raise their children.
“We’ve seen women who’ve sold drugs in order to buy groceries for their family, or diapers or formula.” Georgia Lerner, Women’s Prison Association Executive Director, said, “They’re expensive.”
Women eligible for the program pose little threat to the community, and especially violent women will not be eligible.
Almost 4 out of 5 women convicted of a crime have children, according to Teri Fabi, Hynes’ chief of crime prevention. Many children with single parents in jail are given to relatives and become financial burdens, or become foster children.
Hynes aims to construct a program similar to his Drew House, a group residence where convicted mothers can live with their kids and receive social services like GED prep and job training. According to a Columbia University study, none of the graduates of this home committed a second crime.
The JusticeHome program will allow mother’s to live at home without an ankle bracelet and will be given the freedom to drive their kids to school, go to the grocery store, and visit church.
“This program will help the future of the next generation,” Fabi said, who will soon begin training Brooklyn assistant district attorneys.
The news conference was attended by Julie Kay of Ms. Foundation and Ana Oliveira of New York Women’s Foundation.