NEW ORLEANS — Going on with life after incarceration is a long daunting and sometimes lonely road.
But, thanks to a pair of New Orleans recording artists, a group of recently incarcerated women will have a little something extra to spend this holiday season.
Denisia has been known to shake things up for the holidays and this year was no different.
It started as an all-call on Denisia’s Instagram looking for mothers in need of bail to spend time with their families this Christmas.
“I just figured with us getting involved with helping women that may just be stuck in jail for something minor, I feel like their voices aren’t really heard a lot,” said Denisia.
She says it stemmed from a conversation she had with fellow New Orleans music artist Karon “Squally” Joseph who said he knows how it feels to have a run-in with the wrong side of the law, “just for those women to let them know that you’re not alone in this we’re going to try to help as much as we can.”
The pair joined forces and financial resources and got to work to see how they could make a Christmas dream come true.
It didn’t take long for them to compile a list of names of women to bail out.
However, after conversations with many advocacy groups, lawyers and even Sheriff Marlin Gusman, Denisia soon realized the task of getting women out on bail in time for Christmas was too tall of a task.
So, she quickly came up with a plan B to instead help women who recently left jail.
“After you get out of prison people think the work stops but no, they are starting their life again,” explained Denisia.
Getting this deeply involved in the criminal justice system is not a road that Denisia thought this journey was going to take her on.
But that’s where the road led her.
"I was definitely anxious [and] a little nervous,” she continues, “ just to hear the stories I think I was really interested in hearing it because we see a lot of women that’s in jail in online it’s on tv, but I have never really been in contact with somebody who actually is facing these things."
Along with the smiles and holiday cheer, Denisia brought the group of women visa gift cards.
One of those women was Tiffany Joiner, who said this will be her first Christmas in a long time being both sober and home with family.
Joiner says moments like this let her know loved she is, “that keeps me strong because somebody out there cares enough for me to bless me with to be able to be there for my kids.”
For both Squally and Denisia, it was both a job well done and an eye-opening experience.
“I’m happy that God put me in a position to be in this place because I have friends family that’s not here at my age. So, I just got to give it up to God," said Squally.
“Just learning that it didn’t stop them that really blessed me. Just listening to their stories and seeing that they don’t look like what they’ve been through and they are really willing to help others to not take the paths that they took,” said Denisia.
Denisia says she will soon begin to plan her next steps to help those women who remain behind bars.