Tuesday, August 24, 2010

TCJC Re-entry Project

Hi everyone, this is Ana Yáñez-Correa at the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC). It’s our first guest blog post!

I’m not sure how many Grits readers know about a project we began about a year ago to help those exiting prisons and jails learn about available resources they can tap into in the community.Though we’re not a service organization, we receive over a hundred letters from inmates every month, and we average 40 calls per week from a wide range of individuals seeking help. After so many calls asking for information about resources in the community – and after conducting so much research on providers and programs in various regions – we decided to create the state’s first comprehensive directory of resources for returning individuals.

It doesn't always take money to make a difference in a person’s life. Some people just need help finding information about housing, health services, employment, benefits and assistance, education, or community involvement. And so we provided that (full PDF version here) for them. Although compiling the guide took many months (and was outside our usual scope of research for juvenile and criminal justice policy recommendations), the effort was well worth it and the guide has been distributed far and wide via our website.

Since it’s quite a large document, we recently decided to break out the resources by region and offer individualized PDFs (below). These will help re-entry specialists – as well as community supervision officers, treatment providers, and other groups – provide tailored assistance to those in need:

These documents are also available on our website. We hope they can help Grits readers identify re-entry services in their community, or use them to refer people they know to organizations who can help.

If any of you know of any additional resources you think we should include, please let us know! We will try to update the resources every six months.

Thanks, until we post again…


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! This is such great information.. keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

Great, but I went to the website and sent an email correction and the email bounced back.

sunray's wench said...

Great work! :)

Ana said...

Sorry about the bounce back. What email did you use? If you want you can send the correction to my email: acorrea@criminaljusticecoalition.org

Dan Grundstrom said...

Ana, It was a pleasing wake-up this morning to find your inclusive guest blog on re-entry greeting these old (sometimes "wise") eyes. Between you, Dee Wilson and other salient souls, what some detractors shook their pessimistic heads as being "impossible" four (4) years ago, i.e., the task of creating a viable and realistict re-entry network, is and has been alive and moving in the palm of God.
This phoenix has proved not merely "possible," but has produced a multitude of adherents/workers who were long-time consumers of the criminal justice system. Having been a consumer for over forty-four (44) years of my life, it is not simply "service" to be out here helping others inside and coming out, but a benediction producing golden blessings many times every day. And, there are THOUSANDS of us who are not just willing and able to do whatever it takes to assist others, and who appreciate every and any opportunity to do so. Please call on us, we are not hard to find; every neighborhood has one or many of us. Pax & Grace, dan

Vicki McCuistion said...

This is a great resource thank you. From my work in the social service sector, particularly in rural communities the best place to start asking for help is the St Vincent De Paul Society at the Catholic Church and at the United Methodist Church - due to their connectional nature. There is also the Barnabas Connection in Wimberley at 512-847-1664 for people in need of help in Hays County.

Unknown said...

RE: "If any of you know of any additional resources you think we should include, please let us know! We will try to update the resources every six months."
This is a valuable resource for those who are coming out of prisons. At community meetings we hear and meet the many community members and organizations who give steadily to those coming out of prisons.
I am in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
I see that the Re-Entry Resources listing seems to be missing a very active resource we have out here in our area. It is RIFT Re-entry Initiatives For Today, and their extended resources, which also include the quite valuable working efforts of Texas CURE. I know this to be a fact because we in Tarrant County, follow their work closely, which includes very active involvement in our surrounding communities; as well as our local legislators. I find it fascinating the these moving organizations RIFT and Texas CURE were excluded from this resource posting, especially considering the involvement that includes job placement, housing resource out-reach through community networking and partnerships currently underway. Re-entry efforts shouldn't be about money
as it should be about impacting real lives. These obviously excluded organizations are in fact a part of the working community organizations that do engage directly with those coming out of prisons.
Hope to see an updated and thorough re-entry resource packet for those who need it most.


Angee said...

This is a wonderful list of resources that I intend to bookmark. I do have a couple of comments
If I were to start x'ing out all of those that deny help for registered sex offenders I expect there would be few left.
One source offers help with the exception of lifetime registrants. I don't know how many people that includes but the number would be many times higher under the Adam Walsh Act although the offender has done nothing to warrant additional punishment. I realize that TX is resisting AWA but registration is at the whim of whatever laws are passed and made retroactive.
I would like to see unconditional help for the needy.. The recent report by Marc Levin brought out some great facts. A follow-up on sex offender recidivism rates by someone who speaks loudly and is not dependent on votes to get or retain a position would be vital to change. The hysteria that grips the country could start to quieten in TX. Our children must be protected and parents are looking in the wrong direction. The is no proof that the registry has saved a single child so it is a good thing that was never the intent. People often say they are less watchful of their children if no registered sex offender is listed in their area. How dumb is that? Those they need to be watching for are highly unlikely to be on the registry. "Sex crime" is sorely in need of a definition overhaul. TX could be a leader in child safety with truth and common sense. That can happen if we are sincere about making the children out top priority. "If it saves just one child" has gotten many laws passed that endanger many children. Politicians can't say this without imploding their careers but we have some that would welcome the opening of this door by a credible and trusted source.

Unknown said...

@ Angee, Yes, "unconditional help for the needy..." I agree.
Re-entry should encompass the whole of the population returning to our communities.

The Team said...

Ana, welcome to GFB. I'm sure Grits will be pleased with the debut. We will do everything we can to assist the Coalition, starting with small gestures like linking PNG to TCJC. Good luck in your endeavors. Blog on and we will follow. Thanks.

Ana Yáñez-Correa said...

Hi everyone, thank you all for your comments. We will look into all recommendations for resources and update the regional lists on our website as soon as possible.

Much respect,

DeathBreath said...

Sounds like a revised version of what has been tried in the past. From my twenty-two years of experience as a mental health clinician, I have seen repeated pathetic attempts to address the "re-entry" problem. This reminds me of the Safe Prisons program. What an oxymoron. Did you know that this program started after a gang "punk" complained that he was being raped by gang members within TDJC? This con even talked to Congress, but he was lying all along. Still, Texas enacted this idiot program. I cannot tell you how many offenders I've interviewed for a so-called sexual assault. Most female offenders I interviewed were complaining about being swatted on the behind by fellow offenders. PTSD? Give me a break! It is waste of time. Serious assults, rape, and the like are not being addressed as readily because staff are dealing with minor incidents. Sound familiar? So, try as you may, TDCJ, you are buffoons. You need to be fired for incompetence.

Anonymous said...

My husband served on this task force with Ms Corea. They put in many hours on this endeavour. I for one know that the hearts of those involved were in the right place. Were you there to assist with this project? Did you give any input or insight to the task force? If there is failure in the past do we just stop trying to make things right for the future? I, for one am grateful as my son is incarcerated. This is a guide that may come in handy for us as parents and him as an ex offender when he is released. Thank you Ms Corea and all of the task force for your efforts.

Sharon said...

Thank you for the info. Like Angie, I would like to see sex offenders included in the group of people you help. My son is on parole for an online chat offense. Even though he never touched anyone or made any attempt to contact anyone, he is still restricted from using any Workforce Location in Tarrant County because they are all in Child Safety zones. We are blessed to have the Re-entry center here in Fort Worth but that is the only place where he can use a computer to look for a job or get other info. We have got to change our 'one size fits all' laws and start delineating sex offenses as we do all others.