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University of Wisconsin–Madison
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The Wisconsin Idea in Action

Supporting feminist, trauma-informed practice in decarceration community organizing

The FREE Campaign, supported by the Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, is focused on women who have experienced incarceration, a critical health equity issue. FREE is a project of EXPO (Ex-Incarcerated People Organizing) and WISDOM, a statewide multi-faith grassroots organization, working to have a common voice on issues of social justice. The purpose of FREE is to organize and empower women who have been affected by incarceration to advocate for themselves and to lead decarceration efforts at the local and state levels


The incarceration rate of women is growing 50 percent faster than that of men; over 35,000 women are released from jails and prisons every year. However, “gender-blind” models of incarceration, supervision, and re-entry create additional unintended disparities related to gender in a criminal system which assumes it is dealing with men (Covington and Bloom 2003). While increased housing safety and stability is our entry point, over time, housing improves family and economic safety and stability, reducing ACES, improving the wellbeing of justice-involved women, reducing reincarceration, and eventually improving overall community health through the full economic, social, and civic participation of previously justice-involved women.

Focus Areas

Project Leader

Lori Diprete Brown
Associate Director And Faculty Associate

Civil Society and Community Studies
School or College
School of Human Ecology

This project was last updated on Sep 3, 2021. Do you have an update for this project? Find out how to contribute.