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SLU Transformative Justice Initiative Builds Bridges to Brighter Future

On a recent fall afternoon six women found themselves in caps and gowns in a decorated gymnasium with a crowd that included family, friends and leaders who had supported them and equipped them with the tools for the next step of their journey.


SLU Transformative Justice Initiative leaders join jail-based transition program graduates at a bridging ceremony celebrating their  pre-release program completion as they prepare to transition to life outside incarceration.

However, this graduation wasn’t taking place at a high school or on a college campus. It was a bridging ceremony held at the Medium Security Institution in St. Louis. The women were members of the third cohort of graduates in a jail-based transition program  partnership between Saint Louis University and the St. Louis Division of Corrections that is equipping them to seek housing, employment and meet the challenges of daily life outside the system.

The women are different in age, race and background but stand on a common ground of having a better life. They are mothers, grandmothers and siblings. They are focused on success and goals that include education, job skills, careers and being an example of the power of change for their children, family members and friends.

The afternoon was filled with comments from the cohort members, peer mentors, corrections personnel and the SLU partners who were at the ground level in developing the jail-based transition program and work with each of the participants in the pre-release preparation and provide leadership as they move forward.

Learn more about SLU’s Transformative Justice Initiative

Read more about the program and ceremony in a St. Louis Review story