Giving Compass' Take:

•  Former inmate Tracy Brumfield has experienced the difficulties of reintegration into society after going to prison. That is why she started RISE: Re-enter into Society Empowered, a newsletter/resource guide distributed around the Hamilton County Justice Center in Ohio. 

• How can nonprofits improve reintegration programs or support individuals such as Brumfield expand their capacity? 

• Read about the importance of restoring voting rights for Americans with criminal records. 

Tracy Brumfield started offering peer support at the Hamilton County Justice Center in Cincinnati a couple times a week. After a year of doing this, she felt the pull to do more. “I was offering mentorship for 16 women once or twice a week, but there were 1,400 people in the jail that weren’t getting any enrichment program or re-entry assistance,” she says. “And so the little light bulb in my brain went off.”

In September 2017, she launched RISE, a resource guide catered toward helping current and former inmates navigate the barriers they face when they are released, such as housing and employment.

Her idea to circulate RISE, which she calls a newspaper, won a $100,000 grant from the Haile Foundation, enabling her to assemble a team of writers and designers to bring her vision into fruition.

An acronym for Re-enter into Society Empowered, RISE is distributed in and around the Hamilton County Justice Center in Ohio where an average of 84.8 people are booked per day—most commonly for drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, and theft. The newsletter provides a list of resources and recovery success stories, and RISE staff visit the incarcerated women to provide peer mentorship and guidance on how to navigate the system once they are out.

Brumfield has published more than 30,000 copies of RISE and is now in production on its eighth issue. Each issue focusing on a theme like recovery, housing, employment, and healthcare. Issue six was the first to be written by current and former inmates who shared their stories of hope.

Read the full article about newsletter helping inmates by Shaima Shamdeen at YES! Magazine