Located in Brooklyn, New York, Drew House offers a unique alternative to incarceration program for homeless mothers who have been arrested. The realized dream of DA Charles J. Hynes, Drew House stands as a model for intelligently designed programs that help women in the criminal justice system and their children.
Open to mothers who has been arrested for a felony and have a substance abuse or mental health disability, Drew House offers selected candidates an opportunity to serve their time in an apartment, with their children, instead of locked up and separated from their kids. click here to go to website
Strict rules apply for those who enter the program. The women must not being using drugs at the time of entry, or while residing at Drew House, and must participate in programs specifically designed to help them. Services include counseling and mentoring. Educational and job training classes are also offered. A family therapist is available to treat the family as a whole.
Once the Court sends a woman and her children to Drew House, the mother must abide by the rules and regulations that the court hands down to her, and also must respect the rules of Drew House. If the mother complies with all of the rules her charges are dropped. This process can take up to 18 months. Before a woman and her children leave Drew House, every effort is made to provide her with suitable housing, and to connect the family with agencies that provide needed services. The object is to help women become responsible and self-sufficient while staying at Drew House, and then to clear their record of the felony that brought them there via the court. By empowering the women with new skills and goals, it is hoped that their reentry into the community will be successful.
Because Drew House can only serve a small number of women and their children at this time, efforts to expand are being considered. But without funds progress is limited. Supporters of the idea of expansion have shown that it costs considerably less to house women and children at Drew House than in prison. For that reason alone, it seems logical to find funding for expansion of this program and for others that follow the Drew House lead.