Creating an environment that empowers women in crisis to achieve positive long-term change.
Breaking the cycle
When a child is born into an environment of trauma and systemic oppression, her brain is more focused on survival than play, growth, and development. This can perpetuate generational patterns of poverty, substance use, homelessness, abuse, and eventually even incarceration.
At The Beacon, we don't give women a second chance - we give them the first chance they never had.
With only 5% of the world’s female population, the United States accounts for nearly 30% of the world’s incarcerated women.
Changing the approach.
Incarcerating people with mental illness and substance use disorders as a way to deter them from continuing to use drugs is not working, yet U.S. prison spending increased by almost 600% from 1980 to 2013, largely due to increasing rates of arrest for low-level drug offenses.
The Beacon provides a transformational approach to helping women recover from trauma, substance use, and mental illness that leads to healthier individuals, happier families, and better communities – for all of us.
Further, in 2023, we launched jail diversion so that women could remain in the community with their children, jobs, and support systems rather than being incarcerated for a substance use disorder. This saves taxpayer money, bring healing rather than further traumatization, and breaks generational patterns.
How does a woman in Iowa end up homeless or in prison?
If you haven't already, take this brief ACEs quiz, which is an evidence-based tool to explore the impact of childhood traumatic experiences. (Please be aware there are sensitive questions.)
What does it mean?
If you scored 0, you have a 1% chance of experiencing homelessness in your lifetime. If you scored 8, you have a 33% chance of experiencing homelessness. About 16% of the general population has a score of 4 or more, compared to over 78% of the prison population. Additionally, high ACEs scores have a major impact on physical and emotional health, increasing the risk for heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, and much more.
Did you notice that not one of those questions were related to bad behavior or bad character? They were all things that happened to a child.
At The Beacon, we educate women on the effect that trauma and systemic oppression may have had on their lives, and we also walk beside them with both empathy and accountability - two things we all need to grow.
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