Our Mission

Our mission is to advocate for and assist women in the criminal
justice system to support their successful transition to family and community.
Empowering Women. Strengthening Families. Transforming Communities.


Keyway offers a full range of services that are customizable and aimed to address the individualized needs of women in all phases of the criminal justice system.


Nearly all women entering the justice system have experienced significant trauma such as emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse. This trauma is often at the hand of a trusted caretaker creating a lasting impact on the woman's sense of self and her relationships with others. We strive to make every aspect of our organization trauma-informed.


Keyway provides a full range of evidence-driven wrap-around services, including supportive housing, behavioral health services, vocational support, mentorship, court advocacy, and life skills coaching.

Our Story

Keyway Center for Diversion and Reentry was established in 1997, originally called the Center for Women in Transition. It was founded by four women engaged in prison ministry who noticed a troubling cycle of recidivism. The volunteers met with incarcerated women to identify the root causes behind their repeated returns to incarceration. 

What they uncovered were systemic challenges: a lack of safe and affordable housing; limited access to critical services like substance use treatment, job placement, and essential assistance with food and transportation; and a lack of positive social support. Recognizing the inherent flaws in the existing system, Keyway was founded to directly confront and overcome these challenges.

While Keyway initially focused on offering mentoring partnerships, its scope has broadened over time to encompass a comprehensive array of wraparound services. In 2022, the nonprofit changed its name to better express its mission for justice-involved individuals. Since its inception in 1997, Keyway has tirelessly served more than 2,700 women.


Doors open. Mentoring program begins.


The MO Restorative Coalition was found.


Our transitional housing option Schirmer House opened.


Sharon House, a co-living recovery home opened in the Central West End.


Legislative Advocacy. Advocacy Director hired and legislative work begins.


Baker House 12-bed transitional housing opened.


Trauma-focused behavioral health services were added to our wraparound services.


Rebranded to Keyway Center for Diversion & Reentry.