Aid to Inmate Mothers (AIM) Inc., was founded in 1987 by Church Women United, The Alabama Prison Project, The Alabama Department of Corrections and a group of committed volunteers who discovered that there were many women in prison who never saw their children. AIM’s founders recognized that children of incarcerated parents needed regular contact with their mothers, yet often couldn’t visit because their guardians were unwilling or unable to take them. In 1990, AIM separated from the Alabama Prison Project and became an independent nonprofit agency.
With a strong, statewide volunteer network, AIM continues to provide monthly visits for children to reunite with their incarcerated mothers. Guardians report that their children’s emotional health profoundly improves when the children see their mothers and helps them perform better in every aspect of their daily lives.
Our visitation program has been focus of our agency since the beginning, but through continued support from our volunteers and sponsors we have been able to implement more programs. Our expanded services include a monthly storybook program, summer camp for kids, family outreach programs, birthday and Christmas gifts for families, and classes for the mothers in prison. Our services are extended to mothers at Tutwiler Prison, Tutwiler Annex, Birmingham Work Release and the Montgomery Community Based Facility.
In 2010, we helped more than 200 women adjust to the outside world—many reuniting with their children. Only 11% of the women returned—as compared to 23% recidivism rate of women who had not gone through our programs.
In January of 2011—thanks to donated office space by our longtime friends at UAB TASC (University of Alabama Birmingham’s Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime)—we opened a new office in Birmingham to provide “hands on” case management to the many women returning to Jefferson County. Our new office will help us to give more personal attention and increase our success rate.
In 2011, AIM was also granted funding to open a project that we had always dreamed of—a transitional home for women leaving prison. A potential house has been identified and we are currently awaiting approval from the city to open the home.