30-year-old program works with courts and DA to help women defendants avoid cycles of recidivism
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting DA Madeline Singas joined the staff, volunteers, supporters and clients of the Woman’s Opportunity Rehabilitation Center (WORC) today to announce her office’s renewal of a grant to help keep the 30-year-old organization running for another year.
WORC, based in Hempstead but serving women from all over Nassau County as well as Suffolk, Queens and Brooklyn, is a multi-service agency that works with judges, prosecutors, and community and educational partners to offer services that help recently incarcerated women re-enter society in a productive manner that deters recidivism. The agency also coordinates with the criminal justice system to provide alternatives to incarceration for women charged with low-level offenses. The organization was founded three decades ago by Diane Gaines, a single mom and breast cancer survivor who still runs the organization as CEO.
Today at a conference held by WORC at the African-American Museum of Nassau County in Hempstead, Acting DA Singas announced her office’s renewal of a criminal asset forfeiture grant first provided by former DA Kathleen Rice. The $55,000 grant announced today, like all forfeiture grants, uses the proceeds of criminal cases rather than taxpayer revenue.
“The services provided by WORC for the last three decades, helping women offenders avoid the tragic cycles of recidivism that tear apart families and children, are essential to the criminal justice system’s goals of crime prevention, community improvement and true justice,” Acting DA Singas said. “We couldn’t prevent crime, fight recidivism and help rebuild women’s lives the way we do without WORC’s help, so I’m proud to assist them.”
Services provided by WORC include:
- Personal counseling- Court advocacy- GED training and other educational assistance- Vocational services- Life-skills workshops such as nutrition, parenting, budgeting and work skills- Assessments and referrals to services such as treatment or continuing education
Many of WORC’s clients, according to the organization, are mothers with multiple children, with little education or vocational training, and with longstanding victimization from physical and sexual abuse. The services of WORC are considered to save taxpayer money by reducing or eliminating the cost of incarceration, the need for foster care, and the need for public assistance.
WORC’s efforts to curb recidivism and reduce crime by connecting the recently incarcerated with educational, social and health services parallels similar efforts undertaken in the Nassau DA’s Council of Thought and Action (COTA), a twice-weekly community meeting in Hempstead established by former DA Kathleen Rice that has continued and is expanding under Acting DA Madeline Singas. COTA, which meets just a block away from Nassau District Court in Hempstead and is open to men and women of all ages, will be expanding its partnership with WORC through new collaboration this year.
To learn more about WORC, visit its website at www.theworc.com.
PHOTO CAPTION: Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas joins Woman’s Opportunity Rehabilitation Center founder and CEO Diane Gaines (in wheelchair) to announce a $55,000 grant from DA criminal asset forfeiture funds to help the organization’s work in curbing recidivism and reducing crime by providing services to women defendants.