Delivering Hope

Because no one is just another brick in the wall.



What are community-based organizations involved in jails, prisons, and re-entry ("prisoner reentry")?

What types of groups and organizations join the National Network of Prison Nonprofits (NC4RSO)?  What do they do?  Why?

The U.S. has hundreds of local, regional, and national community groups - many of them nonprofits - delivering a broad spectrum of programs and services in jails, prisons, and post-incarceration reentry ("reentry programs").  A sample listing of groups and organizations is listed here (this is a partial list and is always under revision).

These groups recognize the community's role for affecting positive change within criminal justice.  This recognition comes from a multitude of perspectives - social service organizations, civically-engaged individuals and groups, people from all ends of the political spectrum, educaors, families of people impacted by crime (i.e., families of both crime victims and those who have committed crimes), students, academics, formerly incarcerated individuals, professionals, faith-based groups (prison ministries), and self-help groups.

Many community nonprofits provide direct services in prisons and community reentry - preventative services to keep high-risk individuals from coming into conflict with the law, services for incarcerated offenders (rehabilitative programming, community connections, faith-based activities such as prison ministries, support for the families of incarcerated indivdiuals, education programs, books for prisoners, self-help groups, etc.) and community reentry services for people returning to the community.

Other nonprofits provide additional justice-related services - such as public education about incarceration and the circumstances that often lead to it, lobbying to change corrections-related legislation, public oversight of conditions in correctional facilities, and corrections-related civil liberties efforts.

The motivations of these varied community-based organizations often include:

 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 groups such as people in jail or prison, 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 most in need of community engagement so as to alleviate all sources of community unwellness (such as crime and incarceration).

These community-based organizations benefit individuals and communities:

  They support self-improvement and rehabilitation of individulas 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; people in jail are sometimes more willing and/or able to connect with volunteers than paid staff.  Corrections-related activities provided by the community can mprove the lives of individuals and, thereby, our communities.

 They generate community awareness about both corrections and individuals who come into contact with the law.

 They engage the public in the process of making our communities more well and, therefore, safer?

Finding or Creating Community-Based Corrections-Related Organizations in Your Community


See the "individuals" or "business and philanthropies" section for information about contacting, forming, and/or supporting community organizations involved in jails, prisons, and reentry.        



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