Women Leaving Prison examines the oft-ignored experiences of female returning citizens, our returning sisters, who face numerous individual and systemic barriers as they return to life beyond bars. In the age of mass incarceration, with 700,000 inmates leaving prison each year, spiritual and religious support during reentry is a crucial component of prison ministry. Women Leaving Prison describes women’s pathways to prison, their spiritual and religious experiences inside, and then utilizes interpretative phenomenological analysis, a qualitative research method, to uncover the spiritual and religious beliefs and practices of returning sisters. The findings from the qualitative study then ground the book’s call for a revised prison ministry praxis, entitled Project Sister Connect, that details how churches, as well as concerned citizens and people of faith, can welcome and care for returning sisters. Project Sister Connect offers a model for facilitating female returning citizens’ successful reentry via communal and individual spiritual care and support and by working toward the eradication of structural injustices.
Chapter 1: Sisters Inside: Pathways to Prison and Faith Behind Bars
Chapter 2: Coming Home: The Reentry Experiences of Returning Sisters
Chapter 3: Faith Beyond Bars: Returning Sisters’ Spiritual and Religious Experiences During Reentry
Chapter 4: Project Sister Connect