Our Model

Our goal is to help each woman break the cycle of self-destructive behavior; be accountable; take responsibility for her progress; and, learn to solve problems thus avoiding any future contact with the criminal justice system.

Our 6-month program is designed to guide women through numerous obstacles and empower them to take action on their own behalf to meet their physical, spiritual and emotional needs. This empowerment process allows them to move forward to the future and remove the stigma of their past identities. Our team and partners provide the necessary tools, direction, structure, guidance, and support so that every woman that walks through our door is given the opportunity to succeed. Scroll down the page for information about the research behind our model.

The Research

In 2013, Hope Rises completed a needs assessment of downtown Little Rock communities. While crime, violence, poverty, unemployment, lack of housing, food insecurity, and poor mental and physical health affect many residents in Little Rock, these quality of life issues have an amplified effect for women with criminal justice involvement. The research revealed:

Women face a unique pathway to crime that differs from men

  • Most often based on substance abuse and the survival of abuse and poverty (1,2)
  • Often unaddressed in the predominately male-dominated correctional setting or by reentry service providers (2)
  • “One-size fits all” reentry programs not tailored to address the unique and complex needs of women (2)

Women comprise a rapidly growing subset of incarcerated and recently released individuals

  • From 2000 – 2010, Arkansas’ population of female inmates increased by over 50% (2)

Quality of life issues hit previously incarcerated women particularly hard

  • Significantly under-served for their social, economic, and physical and mental health needs (3)

Women’s post-incarceration experiences often guided by life histories of: (1,2)

  • Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse
  • Poor mental and physical health
  • Abuse of substances, often to self-medicate mental health issues
  • Economically disadvantaged, often with few skills and irregular work histories
  • The expectation, possibility, and/or pursuit of returning to full-time parenting

Little Rock lacks comprehensive gender-responsive, pre-release and re-entry services that address the unique needs of female ex-offenders (3)

Gender-specific needs left untreated significantly increase women’s odds of recidivism (2)


1 Berman, J. 2005. Women Offender Transition and Reentry: Gender Responsive Approaches to Transitioning Women Offenders from Prison to the Community. Washington, DC: National Institute of Corrections

2 Holtfreter, K., and Wattanaporn, K. (2014). The Transition from Prison to Community Initiative: An Examination of Gender Responsiveness for Female Offender Reentry. Criminal Justice and Behavior, v. 41

3 Brophy, K., Amico, M., and Jones, A. 2013. The State of the Re-Entry Service Community in Little Rock: White Paper of Analysis and Recommendations

4 Deschenes, E.P., Owen, B., and Crow, J. 2007. Recidivism among female prisoners: Secondary analysis of the 1994 BJS recidivism data