Shantè Richardson founded the Prison Wives Society to provide support for women with incarcerated partners. She is committed to addressing the issue of recidivism rates in the criminal justice system.
Through her platform, Richardson is focusing on initiatives aimed at rehabilitation, reintegration and providing employment opportunities for individuals post-incarceration. Her efforts involve advocacy, awareness campaigns, and partnerships with organizations that specialize in criminal justice reform and prisoner reentry programs.
Richardson shared her plan of action for the community to help lower recidivism rates.
What inspired you to create the Prison Wives Society?
What made me start this organization, first and foremost, I am a prison wife. My husband is currently incarcerated, and I do have a brother as well, who’s been incarcerated for 45 years to life. This is an organization born from a deep-rooted understanding of the pivotal role that wives and partners play in the lives of incarcerated individuals, both during their time in prison, and when they come home to re-enter back into society. I thought it was just fitting for me to create an organization because it starts from the root of the family and the wives, because a family is affected by incarceration, we serve as the bedrock of change. I wanted to create an organization that helps reduce recidivism [for] the incarcerated individual.
How can we fight this issue together in the community?
The Prison Wives Society is a nonprofit organization and our products such as the Surviving the Sentence e-book, The Prison Wives Journal, and the T-shirts we provide all go to the cause of building programs around reducing recidivism. That’s what we are doing now so that we can have a change. We need to partner up with different employers in the community so that we can have partnerships with them. So incarcerated individuals who come home can have employment. We need help with job training, so people can know what to do. A lot of people went to prison many years ago and are coming home to find cellphones exist. It’s just little things that we need to do step by step to build a mindset. Mindset doesn’t start when a person comes home from those gates, mindset starts when a person is calling home to their wife, mother and children. We need to feed their souls with what we’re doing and how we are making changes. Even down to little things like building our credit so that we could get a home for generational wealth. Even though you feel like they’re not listening, they are listening, and they are proud. This right here is going to be the notion of building them up.