Every year, 636,000 Americans are released from prisons, and more than 11 million cycle through local jails. Many residents in the places where LISC works number among these returning citizens—people in need of social support and family-sustaining jobs in order to become successful, contributing members of their communities. And many more, particularly young people, lack the opportunities and mentorship that could keep them from getting caught up in the justice system in the first place.
Every year, 636,000 Americans are released from prisons, and 11 million cycle through local jails.
LISC has ramped up its commitment to investing in concerted “pre-entry” and “re-entry” programming and supports in our communities. In addition to our crime reduction investments, last year we helped deploy $500,000 from the Walmart Foundation’s Inclusion and Diversity fund to local initiatives working with pre- and re-entry populations.
Projects we support include:
- Our network of Financial Opportunity Centers and our Bridges to Career Opportunities program support formerly incarcerated residents across the country to take the reins of their financial lives, build positive credit histories and skill up for living-wage jobs. This is supported in part with $4.5 million in funding from the U.S. Deptartment of Labor. We also nurture employer relationships with companies that prioritize the hiring of returning citizens.
- Conflict resolution and mentoring programs such as the RVA League for Safer Streets, a basketball-based education program centered in public housing communities in Richmond, VA. Founded by two formerly incarcerated Richmond residents, the RVA League has already had a profound impact on internecine gun violence between rival gangs and in lowering crime in the city’s neighborhoods.
- Pre-entry programming, like the TeenREACH initiative the Springfield, Illinois Urban League, which works with young people who are at risk of being swept into gang activity in the middle- and high school years.
- Probation reform efforts, such as the Resurgence Collaborative in San Antonio, TX, which brought probation officers to an Eastside community center that was more accessible to a population of the city’s adult probationers. One result has been a significant drop in probation revocation because of missed appointments.
To learn more or to support these initiatives, contact us.