Partners in Women's Justice

Freehand Arts Project

Freehand Arts Project is a group of volunteers committed to bringing the creative arts to people incarcerated in Texas prisons. Our program strives to address the deep wounds found in the incarceration system by providing a safe avenue for self-reflection, the opportunity to develop emotional awareness, and a supportive community. Our classes give inmates the experience of control and introspection through art, allowing them to engage in the world more confidently and authentically. Our project employs highly qualified volunteers to teach weekly creative arts classes in Austin and Dallas jails. Our program has inspired hundreds of inmates and officers, who have created anthologies, a jailhouse newsletter and creative writing contests.

Girls Embracing Mothers

The need for services provided by GEM is great.  1.7 million children in this country have a parent serving a sentence in a state or federal prison.  Approximately half of the children with incarcerated parents are under 10 years old.  Related to this, is the increasing number of mothers who are incarcerated, which has more than doubled in the past 20 years.  The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reports nearly 20,000 women are in state and federal prisons in Texas.  Disturbingly, studies show that minor children of incarcerated parents are among the most at-risk, yet least visible, populations of children.  

More than half of incarcerated women report never having had a visit from their children.  In addition to lowering the likelihood of recidivism among incarcerated parents, there is strong evidence that maintaining contact with one’s incarcerated parent improves a child’s emotional response to the incarceration and supports parent-child attachment.  Most caregivers are fully supportive of children having relationships with incarcerated parents; however, the cost of transportation and collect phone calls from the prisons can be expensive, putting a financial strain on the caregivers who already bear numerous burdens while caring for children with parents in prison, including not only increased financial strain, but also physical and emotional stress and lack of external resources.

At Girls Embracing Mothers, we are acutely aware of the needs of these girls in crisis and help empower them to lead successful lives with vision and purpose.  Our programs offer the chance not only to break the cycle of incarceration but also to build the bond between mother and daughter.

Justice Action Network

The Justice Action Network is the first and largest 501(c)4 organization in the country to bring together progressive and conservative partners and collaborate with law enforcement, business, civil rights, victims’ rights, and faith-based groups to make our justice system more effective and cost-efficient. The Justice Action Network employs federal and state-specific lobbying, public advocacy, and public education efforts to pass sweeping criminal justice reforms that advance the following policy goals:

  • To enact data-driven sentencing reforms that safely address the prison population and associated taxpayer costs
  • To reform criminal codes to end the systematic problems of overcriminalization
  • To increase public safety through effective rehabilitation programs
  • To reduce recidivism by breaking down barriers faced by those returning home after detention or incarceration
  • To ensure prompt and fair outcomes for both the accused and the victim

Syndeo Ministries

In 2006 Larry and Hannah Overton fell in love with a little boy at their church. His name was Andrew.  Andrew was a foster child that the Overtons felt a great desire to provide a home for and to "become his forever family." He would be their sixth child, an addition to their five biological children.  

A few short months later tragedy struck and their world was turned upside down.  Andrew went home to be with Jesus when he passed away from a rare medical condition called Hypernatremia. This condition caused very high, fatal levels of sodium in his body.  This sorrowful tragedy was compounded when Larry and Hannah were accused and charged in Andrews death.  

On September 7, 2007 Hannah was convicted of capital murder and sent to a maximum security prison for life without the possibility of parole for a crime she didn't commit. This would leave Larry at home to care for their other 5 children. During Hannah's time in prison God not only held her and her family in His hands but also used this trial in mighty ways.  After seven years of imprisonment, Hannah was exonerated and all charges were dropped on April 8th, 2015. On May 10th, 2017, Hannah was declared actually innocent! During this span, many have come to the Lord and the ministry is continually growing. 

Although Hannah is home with her family, Hebrews 13:3 reminds her to "remember those in prison as if you were there with them." The Overton's heart is to share their story, encourage those facing times of sorrow, and to always trust that God is faithful to lead them every step of the way. They will continue to minister to those behind the gates and remind the church that this charge is not only for those who have been there like Hannah, but for all believers!

Texas Appleseed

Texas Appleseed is a public interest justice center. Our nonprofit works to change unjust laws and policies that prevent Texans from realizing their full potential. We anchor a dynamic network of pro bono partners and collaborators to develop and advocate for innovative and practical solutions to complex issues. Texas Appleseed also conducts data-driven research that uncovers inequity in laws and policies and identifies solutions for lasting, concrete change. The many issues on which we work are united by the goal of greater justice. When justice is beyond reach, Texas Appleseed provides the ladder.

Texas Appleseed promotes social and economic justice for all Texans by leveraging the skills and resources of volunteer lawyers and other professionals to identify practical solutions to difficult, systemic problems.

Truth Be Told

With headquarters in Austin, the mission of Truth Be Told is to provide transformational programs through self-discovery for women who are or who have been incarcerated, resulting in increased self-worth, accountability, and positive contributions to society.

Their prison and jail on-site programs provide for personal and spiritual growth and healing from past trauma through truth-telling in safe environments.

Truth Be Told envisions a society where all justice system-involved women are restored to integrity, thereby breaking the cycle of incarceration.