An exhibit of Photographs from this series will be @ The college of Staten Island opening Nov.19th 2014. The first series of images are included in that exhibit. I could probably do a separate series from the smoking porch- some of which i have included here - there is a marker between what is in the exhibit and what is not.
NDFW (New Directions for Women, Inc.) closed April 2014. For decades it existed as an alternative to incarceration residential program for women from Philadelphia Prisons. For some women, the final year of incarceration could be spent in this less restrictive environment. It was still prison but offered degrees of independence earned through behavior, schooling, and attending NA, AA, and other meetings. Women stayed for a year. Some ran away from the program and were returned to serve more years in prison. Some finished the program and moved on with their lives with varying degrees of success. Returning to scenes of the crime so to speak, is as dangerous after treatment as before treatment. The lack of jobs, social services leaves women without much to help them back into society. Readliy available drugs and alcohol in home communities makes it tough to keep away from these dangerous substances. Yet many make it. They are reunited with family. They start fresh. They continue schooling. I spent 4 years volunteering and photographing at NDFW. It was my priviledge to get to know so many wonderful women.