"Education, not incarceration, is the cheapest form of crime prevention." - Sue Ellen Allen
About Gina's Team
What is Gina's Team ? Gina's Team is a growing non-profit organization that encourages, promotes and provides educational and self-sufficiency programs for incarcerated women in Arizona's Perryville State Prison for women, and at Mingus Mountain Academy, a Joint Commission residential treatment center for emotionally and behaviorally at-risk adolescent girls between the ages of 12 and 18 years old. Led by dynamic volunteers and supported by community leaders across the state and beyond, Gina's Team focuses on Getting Inmates Needs Addressed. This is done at no cost to the facilities or tax payers through these volunteers and with donations.
In 2009 Gina's Team was founded, and named for Gina Marie Panetta, by Gina's parents, Chris & Dianne Panetta, and Gina's cellmate, Sue Ellen Allen, to honor Gina's dream of helping women and girls in Arizona after her release from prison, a dream she was never able to fulfill due to her death while still serving time in prison.
Gina's Team serves the inmate population by bringing in passionate volunteers, community leaders, speakers and educators to inspire and teach inmates skills based on the ATHENA Leadership Model that will help them after their release. This curriculum focuses on living authentically, learning constantly, and giving back to the community. Gina's Team programs provide inmates with the tools needed for reentry into society, supplies role models, and allows volunteers to see inmates as worthwhile human beings.
We have been providing these programs since 2011, at the end of 2015 the results are that 594 women have graduated from our program, with 365 of those being released. Only 30 of those have returned to prison for various reasons, that is a returning rate of less than 10% compared to the national average of over 60%. Over 1300 children have been positively impacted though these women as a result of participating in our programs.
The public is generally unaware that about 97% of women in prison will be released at some point, with over 60% returning within 3 to 5 years. That is a failure rate that would bankrupt most any business. Yet it goes on year after year with the tax payers covering the cost. In Arizona there are about 4,300 women in prison at an average cost of $25,000 a year per inmate (Office of the Federal Register) that is over $107,500,000 tax dollars a year to house them. Gina's Team has saved tax payers about $8,000,000 though the reduced return rate of our graduates. According to The Sentencing Project (a research and advocacy for reform group out of Washington, DC) between 1980 and 2014 women incarceration is up over 700%, with Arizona being the 4th highest percentage per 100,000 women. They also found that in America 1.2 million women are under supervision of the criminal justice system, impacting almost 3 million children. In Arizona it is estimated that 1 out of every 9 kids has a parent, or parents, either in prison , or on parole or probation.
We need to do something now ! Gina's Team needs more donations and volunteers not only to maintain but to increase our programs.
Gina Marie Panetta