RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Pennington County Republican Women’s group is working to keep female offenders from falling back into criminal behavior.
With the cost to incarcerate a woman totaling approximately $30,000 for a year, this month’s meeting of the Women’s Club dealt with reducing female recidivism. Passages Women’s Transitional Living works with those trying to get their lives back on track, thru life skills, employment, physical health, relationships and spiritual growth. Women admitted into the Passages Program are assigned transition coaches, with whom they meet weekly to get help in achieving their goals.
“I think without support of a safe living environment to come out of incarceration or homelessness, they’re set up to fail,” said Facility Director Dr. Marge Beam. “If they have to go back to the same environment that they were in prior to being arrested or becoming homeless, they’re going to be around the same people and the same atmosphere. So having a safe living environment is key to that. And then learning that they can forgive themselves, and that their past doesn’t define them.”
Dr. Beam says it has been difficult to keep track of recidivism rates, as only seven women are admitted to Passages at a time. She adds that Passages recidivism is less than half the national rate of almost 70%. An additional facility will soon be added, providing housing for 14 more women.