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Bags to Butterflies: Reducing Recidivism in Style

DETROIT, June 20, 2018: Bags to Butterflies, L3C is a social enterprise located at 20301 James Couzens St. Detroit. The mission of Bags to Butterflies, L3C is to empower formerly incarcerated women with transitional employment immediately upon their return to the community from incarceration. 

The organization also provides support, resources and a caring network to help empower them to redefine their life's purpose, with hopes to reduce or eliminate recidivism. Recidivism refers to a person's relapse into criminal behavior and is measured by criminal acts that result in re-arrest, reconviction or return to prison. (NIJ)

Bags to Butterflies is taking an innovative approach to create jobs using a very common women’s accessory -- a handbag! While fulfilling their mission, Bags to Butterflies handcrafts exceptional and gorgeous handbags and clutches made from repurposed wood, leather, and high-quality textiles. Their programming employs female returning citizens, allowing them to showcase their creative abilities to design and craft these uniquely stylish handbags.

Founded in 2015 by Detroit native, Michelle Smart, her founding purpose was to empower formerly incarcerated women with employment in a creative environment. “The ladies are encouraged to be creative without boundaries,” said Smart.

To support its mission, the ladies are provided with the materials to design and market a collection of handbags and clutches. The handbag collections function as a reminder to the women to “let go” of their past, “live life” with a sense of purpose, and “fly” towards their dreams. Bags to Butterflies’ smaller handbags symbolize downsizing personal baggage while focusing on mental and emotional stability, a value the organization holds near and dear. 

Bags to Butterflies employs an innovative approach using common accessories that can be worn as a handbag, kept as a keepsake, or as a decorative piece.

Each handbag comes with a gift inside with a message about the designer creating an emotional connection between the creator and purchaser. Each bag is handmade using repurposed wood symbolizing the character of old materials that have been given a new life, just like the designers.

Despite past experiences, Bags to Butterflies L3C provides an opportunity for returning citizens to become reinvigorated through the program. Through commitment, perseverance, and with the help of Bags to Beautiful, returning citizens are creating a new, successful life for themselves by creating beautiful work they are proud of.

Copyright © 1989 to 2018 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06/26/18 13:08:30 -0700.

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