Delivering Hope

Because no one is just another brick in the wall.


More About the National Network of Prison Nonprofits (NC4RSO)


NC4RSO is the national coalition for community organizations delivering programs in jails, prisons, and community re-entry (i.e., "reentry"). 


Why a National Network of Prison Nonprofits?

In a word, HOPE and community wellness.  Lives change when people work with people.  Hope emerges and grows when individuals in the community connect with people who are currently or recently incarcerated, skills are communicated, needed resources are shared, hope is transmitted. For more on how hope and change are delivered person-to-person in jails, prisons, and reentry, read our study on mentoring.


The National Network of Prison Nonprofits from an administrative perspective:

We are inclusive of varied community organizations - from large state-wide or national organizations to small, local community-driven groups that deliver local programming for individual communities - and to be a service-providing coalition for these organizations.  Never doubt the ability of community-driven organizations to address the needs their own communities.

We, like many of our member organizations, are a 501(c)3 nonprofit. The National Network of Prison Nonprofits is an important part of the nation's "social infrastructure" - "prison and reentry nonprofits" change lives, thereby improving community well-being.

Our membership of prison and re-entry nonprofits are all over the country - from coast to coast. 


NC4RSO's objectives:

 Benefit organizationally from "strength in numbers."  Community-based organizations around the country are doing great work in jails, prisons, and community re-entry.  Individually, each group addresses one geographic region and/or one focus area.  Together, we have a collective national voice on topics of interest to community groups involved in jails, prisons, and re-entry and to individuals served by our member organizations.  Some groups with specific topical interests and/or geographic scope have already established geographic or topical networks, associations, and coalitions - NC4RSO provides all community-based groups with a national presence while each organization continues to do its own work.

• Provide direct assistance to community-based prison-related organizations (primarily nonprofits). Our growing list of services include organizational networking, referrals of volunteers to local community organizations, informational material provided to the public, national communications on public policy and civic engagement (engaging the public, communicating with the business community, dialog with government policy makers and policy implementation bodies, etc.) - the list goes on.  For an example of our distributable communications to the public, read our distributable white paper on community engagement and corrections: CORRECTIONS AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT.PDF .


How We Support Community-Based Corrections-Related and Community-Reentry Organizations

CLICK HERE to read about how NC4RSO provides direct assistance to jail, prison, reentry, and community-reentry organizations.


Why Have Community-Based Corrections and Reentry-Related Services?  Why our national coalition?

We recognize the ability of local & regional communities and organizations to mobilize groups and/or activities supportive of positive change in many contexts - including positive change in prisons and within community re-entry. 

We are not alone in this belief.  This same belief is communicated in a variety of settings:

• The National Civic League “envision(s) a country where people participate fully in determining the future of their communities, where inclusive cross-sector partnerships unleash the human potential within those communities, collaborative effort creates positive change and the “impossible” is realized through common effort.” Their “mission is to strengthen democracy by increasing the capacity of groups and individuals to participate fully in and build healthy and prosperous communities.”  They have “(f)aith in people and their unlimited potential to solve problems and strengthen the communities they call home. (see: National Civic League )”

• The federal government supports community engagement for local problem solving.  For example, the federal government has an agency known as The Corporation for National and Community Service to support community-based initiatives.  "The Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency, engages more than 5 million Americans in results-driven service through 70,000 community and faith-based organizations each year.  These Americans improve the lives of millions of our nation's most vulnerable citizens, solve community problems, strengthen the nonprofit sector, and transform their own lives.  (see: HTTP://WWW.NATIONALSERVICE.GOV/ )."   Further, there is the White House Council for Community Solutions (see: SERVE.GOV ).  In addition, some federal agencies, and states have "Center(s) for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships".   

• The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) likewise believes in the ability of local communities to solve local crime-related problems.  In 2005, they introduced a court-specific “Community-Based Problem-Solving Criminal Justice Initiative” in order “to broaden the scope of problem-solving courts, testing their approach to wider defendant populations and applying key problem-solving principles (e.g., links to social services, rigorous judicial monitoring, and aggressive community outreach) outside of the problem-solving court context.”  For more information on this initiative, go to: OJP and Court Innovation .


Why a national coalition for community-based organizations (NC4RSO)? 


To provide national support to organizations around the country and to provide a national voice for member organizations.  Member organizations benefit from coming together from a "strength in numbers" perspective and NC4RSO is able to provide assistance to member organizations.  


There is varied support for the concept of a national membership organization embodied in NC4RSO:


• Varied community-based jail-prison-reentry groups have indicated "there's a need for a national membership organization.  Thank you for making this happen."


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead


Highlights of NC4RSO Successes Include:

Current Successes

• We are looking at conducting more research on topics relating to communiities and corrections.

• We continue supporting community-driven corrections-related excellence in local communities around the country.


Completed Successes (chronological)


• NC4RSO's presence as a national organization is energizing with new depths of inter-organization networking. 


• NC4RSO introduced an assessment resource allowing "prison and reentry nonprofits" to identify their strengths and areas for improvement.


• NC4RSO is developing national monthly conference calls to introduce the broader community to the work of our member organizations.


• NC4RSO's Executive Director presented to Fairhaven College's Tangled Webs conference (January, 2013).


• We celebrated our two year anniversary. 

• Our Executive Director presented to the Whatcom Bar Association's monthly luncheon in Bellingham, Washington (October, 2013).

• NC4RSO took our first step toward supporting the families of incarcerated individualsr by participating in a joint fundraiser with an organization that supports families with incarcerated loved ones (August 2012).

• 2012 Annual awards distributed by NC4RSO are covered by Washington State media and the Oregon DOC.  See: Oregon DOC.


• We launched our NC4RSO Research Center and our first research paper.  

• NC4RSO was a "community partner" for a May, 2011 conference on the topics of peace, prisons, and compassion sponsored by the UNESCO Chair for Transcultural Studies, Interreligious Dialogue, and Peace (University of Oregon).

• Our membership base of community organizations expanded beyond nonprofits in a small handful of states and we began delivering tangible services to our member organizations.

• Existing community-based jail, prison, and reentry organizations began joining NC4RSO.  NC4RSO began developing and delivering servicess to eligible nonprofits.


• The National Network of Prison Nonprofits (NC4RSO) was founded.



  NC4RSO is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization


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