Giving Compass' Take:
- Isabella Garcia explains how a Ride Home helps returning citizens successfully reintegrate into society after serving long sentences.
- How can funders help to expand and improve programs that help formerly-incarcerated people transition into life outside?
- Read more about helping formerly incarcerated people get back on course.
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After serving 24 years in prison, Pamela Thompson was freed with no money, no cellphone, and no awareness of how to navigate the new world she’d just been released into.
Without the necessary resources and tools to succeed, newly released prisoners such as Thompson are set up to fail. Without support, many of them find themselves back in prison—or worse. Recently released prisoners have the highest recidivism and mortality rates of U.S. prisoners.
A study from 2014 found nearly 80% of newly released prisoners were arrested for a new crime within five years of their release, more than half of them by the end of their first year out. Within the first two weeks of being released, returning citizens are 12.7 times more likely to die than people of the same age, sex, and race who have never been incarcerated, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study theorizes that most of those deaths can be attributed to drug overdose.
Fortunately for Thompson, she had a Ride Home.
The Ride Home Program, founded in 2013, is a California-based program that offers free reentry services to people being released from long-term prison sentences, starting with a pickup outside of the prison gates. Clients of the program are guided through the first steps of reentry, such as finding housing, submitting paperwork, and securing employment, by the reentry counselors who pick them up. The program is run by the Anti-Recidivism Coalition—a California-based network of services for formerly incarcerated people—so the counselors are able to connect each client to a myriad of existing services, including case management and job training, that will continue to support them for years to come.
Read the full article about the Ride Home Program by Isabella Garcia at YES! Magazine.