Fighting for dignity after incarceration


Women in jails are the fastest growing incarcerated population in the United States. Three women who served time share their firsthand prison stories with Salon. Topeka K. Sam, Vanee Sykes and Ashley Sowells opened up to Salon about the traumas they witnessed and experienced, while incarcerated and after release.

“One mistake does not define the sum of who we are,” Sam said. Sam is the founder and executive director of the Ladies of Hope Ministries, whose mission is to help women transition back into society. Sam and Sykes are co-founders of Hope House NYC, a safe housing space for women and girls. Watch the video above to learn more about how the healthy, beautiful living spaces they create aid the reentry process. Plus, check out Sam’s weekly radio show “Last Mile, Second Chances,” on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel 126 at 9 a.m. ET.

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