In 2002, Family Crisis Services conducted a study which found that approximately 95% of incarcerated women were currently or previously in an abusive intimate relationship.
Recognizing the connection between incarceration and domestic abuse, we began to offer support groups for incarcerated women at the Cumberland County Jail (CCJ) and the Maine Correctional Center (MCC). We are one of only a handful of domestic violence agencies in the country that offer such programs.
Facilitated Educational Support Groups:
Cumberland County Jail
The incarcerated women’s advocate offers twice-weekly support groups for women who are or have been victims of domestic violence. These groups are open, educational discussions that provide information on identifying abuse, patterns of abuse, why women stay, effects of abuse, healthy relationships, and self-care.
Maine Correctional Center
The incarcerated women’s advocate facilitates ongoing support groups for incarcerated women at MCC where topics may include exploring self & relationships, art, reading groups, and creative writing. FCS’ own curriculum, “Stories from the Life,” addresses the impact of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
Our additional services for incarcerated women include:
- Confidential one-on-one discussions
- Information and referrals for community resources
- Information and referrals about services provided by domestic violence projects
- Safety planning for release
Art Exhibit: “More Than a Rap Sheet: The Real Stories of Incarcerated Women”
In 2007, Family Crisis Services began offering creative writing groups in addition to existing educational groups through their incarcerated women’s program. During the writing groups, participants read a variety of genre including poetry, short stories and excerpts from novels, and write creative and autobiographical pieces. One poem they read, The Truth About Us by Terri Haven, a social worker who researches prisons, resonated with many of the participants. After reading the poem, the women wrote their own “Truth about Me” pieces, the poems featured in More Than A Rap Sheet. The project is a moving exhibit that consists of twenty-seven poems and twenty-one portraits of incarcerated women in Maine. From the exhibit, we created a brief slideshow that can be shown to classes and conscious-raising groups to foster discussion amongst participants.
Resources for Incarcerated Parents