First Statewide Reentry Guide
Foundation for the Mid South Releases First Statewide Reentry Guide
Foundation for the Mid South is proud to release the Mississippi Reentry Guide, a collaboration with local leaders and the Mississippi Reentry Council. This resource guide is available in print or online at www.msreentryguide.com. The guide connects ex-offenders with services and agencies that support successful transitions back to their communities.
The Mississippi Reentry Guide is for:
• Family members and friends of ex-offenders
• State and local agencies serving ex-offenders
• Human Service providers such as social workers and counselors
• Nonprofit organizations
• Law enforcement
• Parole Officers
• State and National Policy makers
• Anyone interested in advocating for, serving or learning about reentry in Mississippi
Supporting Returning Citizens
For ex-offenders, the transition period after incarceration is a vulnerable time. Many struggle to find employment and adapt to life in the community, often lacking the skills and education necessary to succeed while also carrying the stigma of having been incarcerated.
In 2014, approximately one third of ex-offenders returned to prison within just three years of release in Mississippi. U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett, one of the key forces in the formation of the Mississippi Reentry Council, explained, “We are sending people home without the tools and without the resources they need to succeed as law-abiding citizens. We are setting them up for failure.”
Supporting returning citizens during this crucial period lines up with Foundation for the Mid South’s goals for supporting males of color, strengthening communities, and building wealth in Mississippi and across the Mid South.
“It is important that returning citizens have the necessary resources and connections to services to successfully transition back into their communities. The Foundation finds this particularly important for males of color who disproportionately represent the incarcerated population.” —Dr. Ivye L. Allen, President of Foundation for the Mid South
When returning citizens are supported with services and resources, they can find a solid footing during these bewildering circumstances and become productive members of society.
“We are excited to release the MS reentry guide as it will serve as the first point of contact for social support for returning citizens in the state of Mississippi. It is our hope that the guide will reduce the high recidivism rates in Mississippi and help individuals return back to their communities as productive tax paying citizens.” — Justin Burch, Program Associate, Foundation for the Mid South
Comprehensive and Connected
The Mississippi Reentry Guide is a comprehensive resource for ex-offenders across the state, detailing national, statewide and county-specific services. The services, agencies and resources within the guide span a range of topics, including continued education, employment, mental health, shelter, domestic violence, transportation and more.
Through a partnership with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, a printed reentry guide was provided for every parole officer in the state. These guides were produced by the Mississippi Prison Industries Corporation, which offers work experience to sentenced adult offenders.
In addition, a card with the web address for the reentry guide ( http://www.msreentryguide.com/ ) will be provided in every inmate’s release packet. The online version of the guide is highly searchable and easily navigated, increasing accessibility for readers across the state.
A New Way to Employment
In addition to the Mississippi Reentry Guide, the Foundation for the Mid South continues to support the reentry community through a partnership with New Way Mississippi, a Jackson-based nonprofit that focuses on employment for ex-offenders.
This partnership, the Reentry Employment Initiative, works to increase employment among returning citizens through individualized career planning and training. The initiative also engages with businesses and encourages employers to hire returning citizens.
“When the rubber meets the road, the ex-offender can have more work experience and a better education level than another mediocre applicant, but the mediocre guy is going to get the job.” Larry Perry, CEO of New Way Mississippi
This truth means that encouraging employers to hire returning citizens is invaluable to their success. Many claim to support the hiring of ex-offenders, but many employers fail to follow through in deed. The Reentry Employment Initiative focuses not only on increasing employability among returning citizens, but increasing employer participation.
Foundation for the Mid South strengthens reentry communities through publications like the Mississippi Reentry Guide and partnerships like these. We look forward for future opportunities to offer our continued support to returning citizens and their families in communities across the Mid South.
To Go to Offical Reentry Website click here.