Hope is a big word. We use it in small ways, “I hope you have a good day.” Those words could be huge as we bless our family as they head out into a world that can be menacing. In today’s blog I want to express my hope for reentry and every single person who leaves incarceration with hope for change. For the people who have lost their power, donning the ankle monitor of reentry, we have the opportunity to engage in hopeful conversations that give a vision of home, work and relationships.
This week I had an inspiration and went to look at a building for a Reentry Center. Three of our work groups have pinned down a project that they would all like to work together on and it needs a home. It would impact all of our work groups in a profound way. Health, Employment and Peer Support work groups are hopeful that we could have a Day Center, Recovery Café and Reentry Center in one space shared possibly between community partners. It would give our Cultural Connections work group a space for prosocial activities. The Forensic Peer Support Specialists would have a home base. Because all of us have bosses and non-profit boards we can’t really make a project public until top level decisions are made. Our working name is The Bridge; it could be the bridge of hope.
The kind of seamless service that we envision starts before a person is released from incarceration, plans are made and when the day of release arrives we would like to be very intentional that the first hours of release are supported by a Forensic Peer Support Specialist from obtaining clothing, food, housing, personal needs and the appointments that continue life giving treatment, especially for mental health. Embedded in every decision is that our community will be safer and stronger if our returning citizens are successful.