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Our Mission

FREE centers the most directly impacted women and girls; we believe in organizing and organization; we seek visionary alternatives to the current systems of injustice and incarceration.

Our Vision

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Our History

FREE is a project led by criminal-legal system-impacted women in the state of Wisconsin. FREE focuses on the gender-specific experiences and collateral consequences of interacting with the criminal legal system.  Nationally, women’s rates of incarceration are growing at twice the rate of men’s. Around 3000 women and girls are in state and local facilities in WI, and  13,061 women are under the supervision of the state on parole or probation. Incarcerated women have disproportionate experiences of lifelong trauma, abuse, and co-occurring disorders.

EXPO emerged in 2014, when a group of WISDOM members who were directly impacted by incarceration formed their own affiliate as a space to support one another and specifically build the voice and capacity of impacted individuals and families. WISDOM is an umbrella organization for 13 local, non-denominational faith-based “affiliates” across WI (for instance, MICAH in Milwaukee, JONAH in Eau Claire, and MOSES in Madison). EXPO obtained its own 501c3 in late 2020 and remains an affiliate of WISDOM; it is unique in that it draws its members from around the state (meeting in local ‘chapters’) based on lived experience. EXPO broke ground as an organization led by justice-impacted people. However, women within EXPO eventually realized that they needed their own space to support each other and to build power to address the gender-specific impacts of mass incarceration. FREE began in 2016 with discussions between Sarah Ferber, Associate Director of EXPO; Melissa Ludin, EXPO Board President; and Catoya Roberts, Director of MICAH. Since then, FREE has begun to grow via incubation in the WISDOM network, and became its own entity in 2023.

Board Members

Catoya Roberts, Executive Board President

C3 Board Members

President, Catoya Roberts

Lynn Buske

Yolanda Perkins

Senator Lena Taylor

C4 Board Members

President, Martha Collins

Treasurer, Yolanda Perkins

Blair Bowie

Catoya Roberts