Since 2010, the National Reentry Network for Returning Citizens (the Network) has worked to build a strong, national network of citizens returning from incarceration who support each other’s successful reintegration into their communities. The organization also advocates for policy reforms that promote restorative practices and reductions in incarceration.
While Washington, D.C., has a number of programs that work with juveniles returning to the community from incarceration, there is very little support for adults. Many return to society facing fines, child support, and other head of household responsibilities. The Network is using its 2017 AmeriCorps State and National Evidence-based Intervention Planning grant to implement the wraparound services of the Boston Reentry Initiative (BRI) by offering coaching and social support as returning citizens seek driver’s licenses/identification, health insurance, shelter, and transportation; to name a few. The Network’s introduction of AmeriCorps members as peer mentors is unique to the existing BRI model – this will allow citizens returning from incarceration the opportunity to learn skills as AmeriCorps members, assist returning citizens with obtaining tangible outcomes, and provide additional support, all while providing a valuable service to Washington, D.C.
As the Network implements this program, it will use its planning grant to effectively recruit, screen, train, and supervise the evaluation of the AmeriCorps members serving as peer mentors. The grant will also support efforts to establish strong partnerships with the Bureau of Prisons and the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizens Affairs in order to provide a cooperative continuum of care. Finally, the grant will allow the Network to work with an evaluation expert, prioritizing data collection methods and measurable outcomes.