We Speak Up
We Speak Out
The mission of A Beautiful HEART Ministries (ABHM) is to improve the quality of life for formerly incarcerated women, girls, and gender-fluid individuals by focusing on a five-pronged approach: economic advancement, empowerment, education, alternatives to incarceration, and wellness to facilitate change, restore healing, and reduce recidivism.
ABHM Five Pillars
A Beautiful HEART Ministries (ABHM) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on bringing women and girls to the forefront of the criminal justice movement. We aim to reframe the conversation by building knowledge and awareness to the unique and often invisible struggles women and girls face daily in the criminal justice system and upon their release from prison. We're committed to eradicating mass incarceration, shifting the criminal legal system focus from punishment, to a system based on humanity. Our work is grounded by five winning pillars: economic advancement, empowerment, education, alternative to incarceration, and wellness. Our five pillars are engineered to provide a comprehensive scalable antidote that provide demonstrative solutions towards shrinking the prison population and preventing unnecessary incarceration.
ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT: People with a felony record face barriers that affect their ability to succeed after their release from prison. These barriers include employment, food insecurities and housing insecurities. The pillar of economic advancement is a springboard for women and girls returning from prison to end poverty in all its form. By connecting those who have been impacted by the criminal justice system to economic mainstream, education, training and networking we provide multiple benefits for returning citizens to improve their lives and meet their full potential. This effort includes promoting diversity, inclusion, productive employment, and decent work for all.
EMPOWERMENT: The pillar of empowerment has been created to provide a high standard of training in the art of public speaking through ABHM Impact Voices Speakers Bureau. Through ABHM Impact Voices Speakers Bureau, participants, all formerly incarcerated will gain public speaking skills and learn how to create a professional presence. Because we know that every person has unique strengths and needs, Impact Voices Speakers Bureau will offer a Need Analysis Assessment at the start to determine the need of each person, and to help bridge the gap between where they are now and where they need to be to produce desired goals, amazing results and getting paid to tell their story. Read More
EDUCATION: The pillar of education is a collaborative partnership between ABHM and Educational Institutions that work to address the "school-to-prison pipeline" and the disciplinary policies and practices that can push students out of school and into the justice system. We work to ensure that the educational system is a doorway to opportunity, and not a point of entry to the criminal justice system. ABHM also provides educational programs outside of the traditional school such as GED assistance, adolescent literacy and college readiness programs. Read More
WELLNESS: Trauma and Mental Health issues can affect how you feel about yourself and how you relate to others. Women and girls who have gone through abuse or other trauma have a higher risk of developing mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Approximately 80% of women and girls in prison suffer from some form of trauma and mental health issues which may have led to their incarceration. This means that women prison are filled to the brim with untold trauma. Yet, instead of looking into the root causes of their incarceration, they are locked up and left to add additional layer of new traumas caused from solitary confinement, strip searches, and other conditions of prison to preexisting, latent traumas. The growing number of incarcerated women and girls highlights the urgent need for a gender-responsive, trauma -informed approach to female incarceration. However these individuals are being released from prison without ever getting any form of mental health care to deal with the underlying issues that led to their incarceration.
At ABHM we understand the importance of gender-responsive and mental health care for women and girls upon their release. Participants in our program are immediately assessed, and placed in a program shaped by their unique situation. Our program offers a safe and respectful environment that promotes healthy relationships in which participants can get the best quality care to promote healing.
ALTERNATIVES TO INCARCERATION (ATI)
A Beautiful HEART Ministries is proud to announce our fifth pillar as a way to bring meaningful change within the criminal legal system. Though New York City’s average daily jail population has been reduced by 63% in the last 20 years, a debilitating churn of incarceration still ripples through the city. A 2018 report from the City’s Independent Budget Office found that of the 43,345 individuals jailed by the city in 2017, around 70% of them had been jailed at least once before in the previous decade, with about a quarter having been jailed more than five times over that period. This cycling of detainees comes at immense cost to taxpayers, all while exacerbating the employment, relationship, and mental health issues that make crime more likely.
Over this same period, however, an antidote has emerged. Once rare, alternatives to incarceration have flourished in recent years. As the current punishment-focused system fails (at enormous cost) to deliver meaningful rehabilitation, hundreds of non-punitive, treatment-based, and restorative options have grown in response. Still for many these programs remain difficult to access, often relying on the court’s good will or a defendant’s knowledge of available resources.
ABHM ATI Program would take chance out of the equation, ensuring each person accused of a nonviolent crime will have experienced, thorough case management and advocacy starting immediately after arrest. Unlike individual organizations which bring clients into their fold, ABHM will evaluate each individual, building a report that can be used by prosecuting and defense attorneys to connect them with the ideal alternative(s) to incarceration given their offense, history, needs, assets, and goals. Instead of being restricted to one organization, ABHM will ensure that every option is considered and evaluated by an experienced team, many of whom are directly impacted by the criminal justice system themselves. From there, a solution (or an array of them) will be presented to all parties involved, who can work out the proper balance between restitution and rehabilitation, all without imprisonment.
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A BEAUTIFUL HEART MINISTRIES
May Is Mental Health Awareness Month
Incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women have unique and significant healthcare needs, including care that addresses both physical and mental conditions. Incarceration takes a heavy toll on one's mental and physical health and complicate health and justice outcomes for both returning citizens and the communities to which they return.