BUILDING ACCEPTABLE AND FRIENDLY RELATIONSHIPS THROUGH MENTORING ~ OPENING THE MIND TO A NEW NORMAL
In our world, the term Reentry refers to the process involved when a person is released from a prison and allowed to go home. Because most are released without any support to assist them in staying out, the rate at which these returning citizens re-offend and go back to prison is 1 of EVERY 2 released.
Our Mission since 2007 has been to enable the successful return of citizens leaving our prisons by engaging and guiding those convicted of a crime from the point of arrest to the day of release and beyond. In 2016, the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) implemented the “Think Legacy” reentry program inside our prisons.
Our Primary Goal is to facilitate the restoration of all participants to their families and their communities. The organization’s participant goals include citizens returning from prison, those on supervised parole or probation, and those enrolled in a Drug Court program.
Through our Relational Mentoring Approach, we have found that by building relationships between prisoners and free-world mentors during their time in prison, and continuing through their return home, only 1 of 8 are likely to return to prison.
Today, we are a part of the Think Legacy initiative at the ADC’s Tucker Unit. Records from the Tucker Think Legacy program’s impact on taxpayer dollars from July 1 to December 31, 2016 show that $145,834 were saved from only 6 months effort by 18 inmates who graduated from the program, went home and did not return to prison.
On behalf of our Board and staff, I want to thank our 2016 Prayer Warriors, Donors and Friends who equipped us to make a significant impact on Reentry Arkansas in 2016. Without you, we would not have been able to double our impact in the reentry preparation of returning citizens, and mentoring those already home and looking for a new direction for life.
ADVOCATING FOR JUSTICE REFORM AND REINVESTMENT
Laws in the U.S. are increasingly designed to exclude offenders from society, with residency restrictions, monitoring programs, community notification programs, and civil commitments that effectively keep people locked up forever, even after they’ve served their term in prison.
Public approaches to decarceration are backed by evidence, yet governments are ignoring it in favor of laws that, by and large, aren’t supported by any evidence at all, anecdotal or empirical.
We support the reform of legal roadblocks that keep ex-offenders out of the mainstream of society by advocating for the enactment and/or reform of legislation that protects public safety by making sure that people with past criminal records are able to re-integrate successfully. For example:
~ Civil rights violations in parole supervision
~ Civil rights violations in jail-hold of offenders.
~ Barring offenders from employment
~ Barring offenders from HUD housing
~ Barring offenders from Food Stamps
And in general, the development of a continuum of services, and the subsequent removal of counterproductive roadblocks that keep these citizens out of the mainstream of society.
This is both a restorative social reintegration and crime prevention measure.