Are Community-Based Organizations involved in jails,
prisons, and re-entry?
What types of groups
and organizations join NC4RSO? What do they do? Why?
The U.S. has hundreds of
small, medium, and large community groups - many of them nonprofits
- delivering a spectrum of services in correctional facilities and
in community re-entry.
These groups recognize the community's
role for affecting positive change within the
corrections and justice context. This recognition
comes from a multitude of perspectives - social service
organizations, civically-engaged individuals and groups,
people from all ends of the political
spectrum, educators, families of people
impacted by crime (i.e., families of both crime victims and
those who commit crime), students, formerly incarcerated
individuals, professionals, academics, faith-based groups,
and self-help organizations.
community nonprofits provide direct services within
prisons and re-entry – preventative
services designed to keep high risk individuals from
coming into conflict with the law, services for
incarcerated offenders (rehabilitative programming,
community connections, faith-based activities, support
for families of incarcerated individuals, educational
services, books for prisoners, self-help groups, etc.),
and community re-entry services for offenders coming
back into society.
nonprofits provide additional
services - such as public education about
corrections and the circumstances that often lead to
incarceration, lobbying to change corrections-related
legislation, public oversight of conditions in correctional facilities, and corrections-related civil liberties
The motivations of these varied community-based organizations often
Commitment to community
engagement - whether it be through the lens of civic
engagement, social change, personal experience with
incarceration, a religious calling to provide
support to disadvantaged or marginalized demographic groups such as the
poor and offenders, or from having had some kind of
community-based introduction to corrections (a news
story, a college course, etc.).
Recognition that creating positive and healthy
communities involves creating
healthy opportunities for everyone; that this
necessarily includes working with those in most need of
community support (including
incarcerated persons) so as to effectively alleviate
all sources of community un-wellness (such as
crime and incarceration).
These community-based organizations benefit individuals
They support self-improvement and rehabilitation of
individuals who come into conflict with the law (or are
at risk of doing so) and who wish to move in a positive
direction. Volunteers have a
unique ability to connect with people in jail;
are sometimes more willing and/or able to connect with
volunteers than paid staff (Professionally-trained staff
have important roles in corrections! We simply stress
that the relationship dynamic between incarcerated
volunteers can have a unique and beneficial effect
within the institutional context). Corrections-related activities provided
by the community can improve the lives of individuals
and, thereby, our communities.
They generate community awareness
about both corrections and individuals who come into
conflict with the law.
They engage the public in the process of making our
communities more well and, therefore, safe.
Finding or Creating Community-Based Corrections-Related
Organizations in Your Community
"individuals" or "business and philanthropies" section
(right) for information about contacting, forming,
and/or supporting community-based corrections-related
CREATING MORE HEALTHY COMMUNITIES, ENGAGING EVERYONE IN
THE OPPORTUNITY FOR PERSONAL AND COMMUNITY WELLNESS