If you’re a sports team and you only win one out of every four games, you’re likely in last place, or close to it. But if you’re trying to keep someone who’s been released from prison from committing another crime, that’s about average. According to the Department of Labor, between 2005 to 2010 only one out of four (24.4%) state prisoners who were released from prison were able to remain crime-free for the next five years.
Despite those challenging statistics, our ReEntry Program, a program that works with individuals returning to society after a period of incarceration, has some good news: they’re succeeding.
Christen Munn, Workforce Development Manager for Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota’s ReEntry program, states that our program has produced much lower recidivism rates for its participants.
Housing, transportation and employment are some of the biggest challenges for anyone facing life after incarceration, but there are plenty of other barriers that exist. Having a solid support system is a huge advantage for someone trying to return to society after a period of incarceration. “Rejection is one of the hardest things they have to face,” Christen explains.
The ReEntry team’s approach is to provide one-on-one support through a ReEntry Counselor and access to a variety of core services, including cognitive skills training, Employment Readiness Training, mental health care, legal aid, mentoring, child support services and job placement assistance.
Christen reports that between January 1, 2014 and July 1, 2016 the participants who went through our ReEntry Program had an extremely low recidivism rate of 15% – in other words only about one in every seven participants returned to prison.
She credits the program’s success to her dedicated team of seven people. “We have an excellent staff who really care,” she says. The team consists of an Intake Coordinator, an AmeriCorps VISTA and five ReEntry Counselors.
The program began in 2007 with a grant from the Joyce Foundation to study whether job placement or work experience was more effective in reducing recidivism. Currently, funding comes from the Department of Labor and the Otto Bremer Foundation.
Read Jennifer’s story, a ReEntry participant building a successful life.
Learn more about Goodwill-Easter Seals’ job training programs.
Find out how your company can contribute to Goodwill-Easter Seals.