A Brief History
In 1980 at the request of the Department of Corrections (DOC), Presbyterian Women funded the first female chaplain in the state at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women (NCCIW) and pooled their monies to renovate the Chapel. In 1989, the DOC requested a relocation of the chaplain to the new minimum-security Raleigh Correctional Center for Women (RCCW, now the Canary Unit of the NCCIW).
In 2001, formal transitional education was added through JobStart, and the partnership between the DOC, IPMW (then Presbyterian Coordinating Committee), Wake Technical College, First Presbyterian Church and the community continues to this day.
In 2004, the organization was reorganized as Presbyterian Prison Ministry, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non profit and in 2013, the name of the organization was changed to Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women (IPMW) to reflect the broader base of people engaged in this transformational work and the requirements of our chaplaincy covenant within the prison.
Throughout our history, IPMW has served many thousands of women. Since 2015, our work has expanded beyond the prison walls to include the Hope Bag initiative, case management support, reentry mentoring and most recently, housing.
In 2020, we expanded services to women through multi-service programming, educational and entrepreneurial support. In conjunction with our housing partners, we now have two residences and are planning to add more.
Please visit our 40th Anniversary Timeline for the organization's history.
To equip women with the tools and Support they need to heal, grow and thrive, both in prison and in the communities to which they return.
● Our approach is predicated on a belief in the inherent value of all human beings and the dignity, innate goodness and strength that resides within every woman with whom we work, regardless of her history and circumstances.
● We believe each woman owns her unique journey and has the right to be free to live a whole and healthy life; given access to the tools and support she needs, we believe that she has the power within to succeed.
● We aim for holistic transformation through a woman-focused, human-centered and trauma-informed approach that provides support in a caring, positive, and individualized manner.
● We strive to be inclusive, incorporating the voices of women who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system at all levels.
● As people of diverse faiths, we endeavor to be radically welcoming and hospitable.
● We strive to foster understanding across lines of difference and to suspend judgment of people’s lived experience in order to act and respond from a place of kindness and compassion, taking care that our language and actions reflect respect and honor.
● We believe in the power of relationship and community and seek to build connections and form partnerships that are beneficial to all.
● We work with intentionality and care about quality, recognizing that as important as what we do is how we do it.
● We recognize that achieving desired results may require pushing the envelope with new and innovative ways of thinking.
● We are committed and tenacious, understanding that measures of success and the paths to get there vary by individual.
● We value trust and transparency and expect it in ourselves and from those with whom we interact.
● We operate in an environment in which the stakes are high, and strive to do so with thoughtfulness and integrity.
● We value people over process, removing barriers where they exist and being mindful not to create new obstacles.