Parole Project’s reentry programming meets client needs with calculated care. Our program includes housing, life skills classes, social workers, mental health services, mentoring, and community reintegration. These wraparound services help our clients begin to rebuild their lives.
Safe and stable housing is vital to our clients’ successful reentry. Parole Project provides transitional housing for clients immediately upon release. This also provides educational opportunities with day-to-day lessons like using appliances, independent living, and being good neighbors.
Each Redemption Home is assigned a case manager who makes daily visits, holds regular house meetings, addresses maintenance issues, and assists clients in becoming comfortable in a typical household setting. While completing classes, our clients benefit from the safe, normalizing environment our houses provide – serving as a step-down point as they adjust from prison to new living conditions.
Parole Project also operates a post-transitional housing program where clients find affordable, safe, long-term housing as they continue developing self-sufficiency. Post-transitional tenant clients are able to establish rental history, build credit, and gain references which are important to their future development.
Our reentry specialists are a vital source of support, information, and leadership for our clients. After their release, each client is paired with one of our reentry specialists – former clients who have successfully transitioned back into society and now guide their peers through the same journey. Our reentry specialists handle all day-to-day needs a client may encounter. They ensure our clients obtain any necessary documents such as birth certificates, IDs, and social security cards. They also supplement our classes and programming by providing mentorship and accountability throughout the reentry process. Leading by example, our reentry specialists’ work ensures that our clients can succeed and make the most of their second chances.
Classes and Programming
Clients participate in a robust program designed to overcome obstacles to successful reentry. Community leaders, volunteers, and staff teach daily classes at our office. Each session is designed to address key reentry issues, discuss solutions, and foster confidence as independent problem solvers.
Seemingly mundane, everyday tasks can easily become major obstacles after decades of incarceration. Our reentry staff teaches clients how to handle these challenges with patient understanding as a result of their lived experience. We ensure each client has their vital documents (social security card, driver’s license, birth certificate, etc.) and educate them on identity protection practices. Clients are active participants in each step as our staff guides them through the steps to independently address issues that arise.
We don’t expect our clients to become completely proficient in technology after decades of incarceration, but we make sure they are able to confidently and competently use it as a tool in their reentry. Parole Project provides each client with their own smartphone immediately after their release. Initial technology classes clients are taught how to make and answer phone calls, send text messages, download applications, and access websites. Advanced classes teach clients how to shop online, use email, create documents, and identify malicious content.
We help clients adapt to societal changes and teach them how to avoid stigmatization. Clients learn appropriate social interactions, etiquette, and nonverbal communication. Additionally, clients are guided on how to navigate conversations about their incarceration. Each client participates in sessions designed to address conflict resolution, setting and respecting boundaries, and building healthy interpersonal relationships.
Most of our clients have little to no work history prior to their incarceration. To address this, we identify applicable skills and trades they obtained while in prison. We help our clients create a resume based on their skills and experience, and conduct mock interviews for their desired occupations. During these interactive sessions, we coach clients on how to discuss their incarceration with potential employers and provide education on appropriate workplace attire, etiquette, and co-worker interactions. As clients prepare for their return to the workforce, we assist with identifying employment opportunities, teach clients how to find online job listings, and connect them to potential employers.
Additionally, Parole Project’s Employment Enhancement Program connects employers with skilled workers.
One of the first lessons clients learn is how to be a conscientious consumer. Within 24 hours of their release, we take them to a grocery store where they learn how to make informed decisions as a shopper, navigate self-checkout kiosks, and use a debit card for the first time.
Each client opens a bank account and learns budgeting, debit card use, and how to build credit with assistance from local banking professionals. Additionally, we make sure our clients can identify and avoid scams such as phishing and fraudulent telemarketing. Clients also learn how to set up direct deposit and use peer-to-peer payment apps such as Venmo and Cash App. These skills ensure that clients will be able to properly manage their personal finances as they pursue housing, employment opportunities, and everyday expenses.
We work to ensure each client can obtain health insurance plan. Once registered, reentry staff take clients to appointments with general practitioners, dentists, and specialists. In addition to screening for medical issues, clients learn how to locate providers and schedule appointments, use their insurance benefits, and assume an active role in their medical care.
Social Work and Mental Health Services
Parole Project recognizes that some clients may face mental health, substance abuse, or behavioral health challenges upon returning to their community. While in our program clients receive trauma-informed mental and behavioral health care that emphasizes safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness, and empowerment from our on-staff social worker. We assist clients with accessing mental health and substance abuse treatment and other necessary recovery support services.
Clients with mental or behavioral health treatment needs are referred to appropriate and accessible services or programs in their communities. We work with clients to develop treatment plans that are responsive to individual needs which help maintain accountability and public safety. Our ability to provide in-house, individualized care plans allows our clients to take an active role in their care plans and build a direct, open line of communication with a trusted mental health professional.
Each client is evaluated at least two times for current mental health and substance abuse status to determine needs and goals for successful reintegration into society. We administer an initial assessment within 24 hours of each client’s release from prison. Supportive counseling is offered throughout each client’s programming. Our social worker also conducts educational programming that focuses on building interpersonal skills including setting healthy boundaries, conflict resolution, coping strategies, relational communication, and social skills. Once clients complete programming, a second assessment is administered to ensure they are sufficiently adjusting to their new life.
Family and Community Reintegration
Family and community support is important for our clients as they reenter society. Parole Project works to incorporate interactions with these extended support sources into reentry plans for each client in our program. We also work to address concerns and transitional issues that our clients’ supporters may encounter during reentry as well. If you are a family or community member and would like to learn more about how you can help our clients as they transition back into society, contact us for more information.
While the majority of our focus is on the clients’ own transitions, we recognize that family support and understanding are vital to successful reentry. Moreover, this is a significant transition for our clients’ family members as well. Many clients’ long-term residence plans include reuniting or living with family members. Our reentry staff help both parties manage expectations and proactively address potential concerns with that transition. Some clients are able to spend weekends with family members to gain additional support and strengthen their relationships in between weeks of classes. These experiences allow clients to practice what they have learned in classes and start building their relationships in the community they will soon rejoin.
We regularly connect clients with opportunities to get involved in their communities while in our program. Parole Project staff and clients actively participate in community service projects with local organizations. Some clients visit schools, churches, and other spaces as motivational speakers – sharing their experiences, testimonies, and journey toward redemption. These opportunities are beneficial to our clients’ sense of belonging and acceptance, as well as displaying community support for formerly incarcerated people and understanding of their experiences.