Imagine that you were released from prison with no money, no food, and nowhere to sleep. You have no phone, and no one to call. Where would you go? Who would help you begin your life again? For over 160 years, the Women’s Prison Association (WPA) has been a beacon of hope for women in these desperate circumstances.
Founded in 1845, WPA is the nation’s oldest nonprofit organization serving women with criminal justice involvement. Each year, WPA provides assistance to thousands of criminal justice-involved women and their families in New York City. WPA’s programs are based in jail and prisons as well as in the community.
Since 1874, the organization has been headquartered at historic Hopper Home, a Greek Revival townhouse in Manhattan’s East Village. Though the profile of the women seeking help has changed over the years, their needs have remained largely the same. Today as they did one hundred years ago, women come to WPA for help finding housing, obtaining employment, staying sober and reunifying with children.
At WPA, women find the tools they need to build stable, law-abiding lives in the community. All of WPA’s programs are designed to reduce the use of incarceration and to help criminal justice-involved women make decisions that support, strengthen and enrich their own lives, and those of their family members. Recognizing that individual change and institutional change go hand in hand, WPA’s Institute on Women & Criminal Justice advocates for policy reforms that will produce better results for women, families, and communities.