Weekly Mission Spotlight: Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women

Established in 1977, Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women (IPMW) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to build bridges of hope for women in prison before and after release through chaplaincy services, transitional programs and reentry support.

Women are the fastest-growing segment of the prison population. Over 95% of those currently incarcerated will be released one day. They have paid their debt to society and can become successful, productive citizens, but far too often they face significant barriers to obtaining jobs, housing and social services. As a result, almost 30% of them return to prison within three years; even more return over time.

IPMW believes that systemic problems require holistic solutions. They strive to interrupt cycles of poverty, addiction, and violence by resourcing women mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically both before and after release. IPMW is unique in their integration of evidence-based practices within the domain of prison ministry.

For over 40 years, IPMW has helped thousands of women realize their own dignity and worth. They have watched proudly as that realization becomes a base from which to heal from past traumas, succeed in the workforce, and mend their families and relationships through programming, staff and volunteer support, and networks.

Through chaplaincy programs and services, women have an opportunity to meet their spiritual and religious needs and receive trauma-informed training and care as well as opportunities for leadership and creative expression.

Transition education provides evidence-based life skills, job skills, emotional literacy training inside the prison walls and outside in the community while women are still incarcerated and readying themselves for release.

Through reentry support, women work to secure their post-release needs, including employment, housing, transportation, mental health and addiction recovery, health and human services, and reunification with children, in partnership with faith-based groups, other nonprofit service providers and area businesses.
IPMW also raises awareness about issues of incarceration and the barriers that people face upon release through community engagement, presentations, trainings and reentry simulations, thus helping the community at large prepare itself for its vital role in the reentry landscape.

IMPW’s ultimate goal is to provide a long-term solution to help women stay out of prison and to empower them to successfully reintegrate into society upon release. Since 2001, IPMW has partnered with the Department of Public Safety, Wake Tech and First Presbyterian Church to offer JobStart transitional education. Those classes have been on hold during the pandemic, but hope to resume in January of 2022.

FPC members Susan Rawls and Paula Malzone currently serve on IPMW’’s Board of Directors. Countless FPC members have served as JobStart mentors over the past 20 years.

The FPC Mission Budget annually supports the work of IPMW. The funding received from First Presbyterian Church primarily supports core chaplaincy services, the bedrock of IPMW’s work over the past 40 years, as well as new reentry programs, and much-needed practical assistance (i.e. hygiene items and transportation costs).

IPMW’s offices have been housed at FPC since 1997. For more information visit, www.ipmforwomen.org.

On October 12,2021, IPMW will present A Cause for Celebration 2021 at the Raleigh Little Theatre Rose Garden. FPC staff member and former IPMW Board Member, Jean Suber, will be honored. To attend this event, please register »