Working Towards a Better Tomorrow
Clover A. Perez is the Founder and Executive Director of A Beautiful HEART Ministries. At ABHM our work is grounded by four principles, ISIP- I Support, Inspire, and Participate. As we continue to increase our footprint, we find that it's necessary to operate on a broad portfolio. Conversely, our four principles are the bedrock of the work we do in any area, and is imbued throughout our mission, which is to improve the quality of life for formerly incarcerated women and girls by providing resources, educational tools, spiritual guidance, trauma counseling, workshops, and seminars to facilitate change, and restore healing.
ABHM concept is simple, to bring awareness to the plight of women and girls behind the walls of federal prisons, and to draw open the curtains as wide as possible so the public can have a better understanding of what it’s like to be the “Faces of Women and Girls in Prisons.”
Not only am I the founder and Executive Director of ABHM, but I am also a formerly incarcerated woman who served time in federal prison for a white-collar crime. My time in prison has afforded me the opportunity to speak with the many women and girls who were incarcerated along with me. What I have learned is that there is a brutal familiarity in their stories. Women have been ripped away from their children, and families, causing psychological and financial hardship not just for the incarcerated individual, but for potentially many generations going forward.
The United States of America has maintained the highest female incarceration rate in the world. The ten-fold increase of the women’s prison population since 1970 is a clear consequence of a society determined to crack down on crime. The typical American is often surprised to discover that so many women and girls, who are warehoused in prisons, are first-time non-violent offenders serving draconian sentences for a non-violent crime.
Consequently, even though the United States of America only consists of 5% of the world’s population, it still leads the world with the largest prison population. As a result mass incarceration is a major epidemic. Women and girls are being warehoused in prisons, destroying families, and costing taxpayers billions of dollars each year. It is a sobering situation considering the fact that many of these women and girls are released from prison without getting the proper rehabilitation they need to address the underlying issues causing their offense. The statistics are well known, but the true faces of these women and girls imprisoned, and the injustice they encounter in the U.S. Judicial system is less publicized.
The fact that this nation has the dubious distinction of having the highest incarceration rate in the world speaks volumes. It is time to remove the veil and uncover the structural inequality these women and girls face at the hands of a system that disenfranchised and dehumanized them. They are dehumanized in such, a way that at the moment of conviction they are made to feel less valuable. Shackled and, draped with chains, these women and girls are shipped off to a penitentiary where they are placed in a cell and assigned to a bunk bed stained with the blood of previous generational miscarriage of injustice.
A Beautiful HEART Ministries supports the growing momentum to bring about meaningful criminal justice reform and look forward to working hard to bring forth changes in the criminal justice system.
With Love and Gratitude,
Clover A. Perez, Executive Director