According to a June 2019 report by The Sentencing Project, the number of incarcerated women increased by more than 750% between 1980 and 2017, rising from 26,378 to 225,060. This is the result of stiffer drug sentencing laws, underdiagnosed and untreated trauma and mental health issues, and post-conviction barriers to reentry that uniquely affect women. The female incarcerated population stands nearly eight times higher than in 1980.
While in Federal Prison, Topeka K. Sam witnessed firsthand the epidemic and disparity of incarceration on women, specifically women of color. She felt an urgency to bring the faces and voices of imprisoned women to the public in order to bring awareness to incarceration and post-incarceration issues, with the ultimate goal of changing the criminal legal system.
After her release in 2015, in response to what she saw and learned in prison, Topeka created The Ladies of Hope Ministries (The LOHM), an organization whose mission is to help disenfranchised and marginalized women transition back into society through education, entrepreneurship, spiritual empowerment, and advocacy.
In this MYD Global episode we speak to Topeka about how she is using her passionate voice and testimony to bring light on this important issue, and the epic work The Ladies of Hope Ministries is doing in order to give women, girls and their families a second chance.
For more information about The Ladies of Hope Ministries: www.thelohm.org.
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