In Washington, DC, only about 5 percent of those behind bars are women. But a substantial majority of these women are mothers, and many leave small children behind when they are sentenced to years or decades of incarceration. Women’s experiences of incarceration are dramatically different than those of men. Moreover, their reentry process when they are released is driven by different needs and challenges many women face as a result of their roles in families and communities. Returning women often struggle with a range of social and emotional needs, including family reunification, addiction, mental health, and trauma recovery. Women in reentry must confront these social and emotional issues while facing daunting challenges in obtaining housing, employment, and other essential services

The Women of the WIRE oral history project seeks to document and explore the unique challenges that women from DC face while incarcerated and after they return home, as well as the long-term impact of their incarceration on them, their families and communities. In gathering these stories, we seek to amplify the voices of women from DC in conversations and policymaking about mass incarceration and criminal justice reforms in our city.

Join us from 6:30-8pm at Busboys and Poets in Brookland to watch clips and hear directly from the women of the WIRE (Women Involved in Reentry Efforts) about their life experiences, the change they seek to make, and the role of storytelling in this work.


Kristin Adair, Women of the Wire Oral History Project Director
Lashonia Thompson-El, Executive Director of the WIRE
Saundra Sanders, Substance Abuse Specialist at the WIRE


Maggie Lemere, Oral Historian, DC Oral History Collaborative