Dorchester, the Boston neighborhood with the highest poverty levels, struggles to keep kids in school from engaging with gangs and crime to make money for themselves and their families. But College Bound Dorchester (CBD) is fast rewriting the solution to high drop out and recidivism rates, paying ex-offenders a weekly stipend to enroll in and complete a diploma program and proceed to (and through) college. With "core influencers" -- ex-gang members who have "left behind their troubled pasts" -- as role models in the community, CBD emulates similar programs in Chicago and Baltimore, and studies show the initiative is working.
Judge Inna Klein and probation officers from The Community Supervision and Corrections Department are bringing domestic violence reform to Nueces County. By taking more aggressive approaches toward supervision and accountability, and by focusing on rehabilitative services for offenders, they hope to break the cycles of violence.
In Texas, Mass-Incarceration is becoming a surprising hub of bi-partisan reform. By finding common ground, and brainstorming new solutions and alternatives to mass incarceration, the state has seen a drop in incarceration and crime rates.
Safe Streets, a program run by the city’s Health Department, has lowered fatal shootings in Baltimore’s neighbourhood of Park Heights by hiring local ex-cons to defuse volatile situations before guns are drawn.
Montana saw the rise of child abuse and neglect cases due to parental substance abuse, particularly with those using methamphetamine. Family drug courts are reversing this trend due to a more holistic approach striving for permanency through rewards and sanctions program, frequent testing, and treatment.
In Seattle, the over-policing of drug users has been extensive and frequently racially biased. Looking for a new solution, the LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program, driven by a harm reduction philosophy, is connecting users with key social services rather than punishment.
Victims’ families of heinous crimes may never receive emotionally-satisfying justice; likewise, those committing the acts may never understand the gravity of what they have done. Over thirty states in the U.S. offer restorative justice, which enables both parties to share how they have been affected by the crime and offenders can emotionally accept responsibility. While most of the restorative justice is victim-centered and initiated, some states use the program to help offenders re-integrate into society with a less likelihood of initiating new crimes.
The penal system and imprisonment does not always help offenders accept responsibility for their actions. Some states in the U.S. turned to restorative justice, in which offenders and victims can work out a plan to repair the damage or pay back for the crime that was done. Restorative justice has become an alternative to prison, particularly in the cases of juvenile justice, giving juveniles the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
Project Rebound will create an office where formerly incarcerated students can receive tutoring, counseling on academics and financial aid. Seven California State University campuses are busy this summer putting the finishing touches on this program.
"A social secretary for people who have been deprived of the forms of communication that are now ubiquitous almost everywhere except for prisons," Renea Royster is part of a network of organizations (including Pigeonly, Infolincs, Inmatefone, and Phone Donkey) helping prisoners keep in touch with people on the outside.
One of the hardest parts of being in prison is not knowing what to do when you get out. By pitching ex-cons as good for business, the Eastern District of Missouri’s prison-to-work program has become a model for inmate re-entry nationwide.
A law-enforcement strategy known as the "focused deterrence" approach involves identifying people most at risk to commit or to be victimized by crime — often the same individuals — and hosts meetings where they are offered resources to break the cycle, or, face serious legal consequences. The approach has worked so well in places like Kansas City, Boston, and High Point, that Milwaukee is looking at how to replicate the results.
The second part in a series of stories about Seattle's response to their homeless crisis. Here, officials look to the example of Houston to create housing options for homeless veterans and former convicts.
Some local programs see youth employment as more than just a workforce development issue. They also view jobs as a way to offer stability to young people, especially those from Cleveland area communities with high violence rates. The research bears them out. These are the voices of some of the voices speaking in favor of more jobs and less violence.
Programs run by the Volunteers of America and Ohio Means Jobs|Cleveland-Cuyahoga County focus on employment, not only as a workforce issue, but also as a way to keep young people out of trouble and lower youth violence. Such programs have the research to back them up. An analysis done for The Plain Dealer by Case Western Reserve University shows a correlation between the youth idle rate, based on teens who are neither in school nor working, and youth violence.
The Volunteers of America's Face Forward 2 program offers a second chance to youth offenders by focusing on education and employment. Destyni Iverson believes the program potentially changed the trajectory of life. She said she felt hopeless when she enrolled, and was on the verge of becoming a high school dropout. Now she is enrolled as a nursing student at Cuyahoga Community College and believes she has a bright future.
Victims of violence that end up in the emergency room can return within two years with more injuries because of retaliation efforts. Philadelphia’s Healing Hurt People is a hospital-based violence intervention program that assists individuals who need medical care and mental health services. The hospital and social work collaboration helps reduce emergency room costs.
Job training is an invaluable resource to prisoners who may not have any other resources for such a thing. A new job center, established with a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, aims to assist 1,000 Milwaukee County offenders over two years.
In the United States, the incarcerated feel like they have no voices and their mistakes that led them to jail go unacknowledged. A documentary film spotlights the IF Project, a writing program that encourages female inmates and recently released felons to write down what they would have done to change the path they went on. With police and teachers as mentors, the convicted have support transitioning into society and can reflect on what they can do to change their lives for the better.
In poor, crime-infected neighborhood with limited opportunities, where interactions with law enforcement are often toxic and punitive, and distrust on both sides is rampant. An integrated strategy is at the core of the model that can change this:"Operation Ceasefire," a form of targeted deterrence. The carrot-stick approach is carefully designed to reach men believed to be on the cusp of committing gun violence, let them know the consequences and help them fulfill their needs, thus finding a way to maybe change their trajectory into something more positive.
There is a high rate of recidivism for juvenile offenders, Chad Houser started Cafe Momentum with the aims to help these individuals develop a new life. The food is made by young offenders who go through a year long internship at the cafe in order to develop their culinary skills.
Rehabilitation is key for newly released prisoners, to avoid social stigma and financial problems. Providing skill development programs, mental health counseling and financial assistance are just some of the ways that Bangalore is rehabilitating freed prisoners.