Community involvement in the Reentry Process is critical to the success of a reentry court. Our guest post, on the importance of Mentoring in the Reentry Process, was written by Pat Nolan , of the “Justice Fellowship”:
Prison Fellowship has found that having a mentor increases the beneficial impact of the other programs they participate in. Ex-offenders need healthy relationships even more than they need programs. A mentor is there to help them think through the myriad decisions that confront them—where to live, how to get a job, where to get medical care. Even mundane things like obtaining a driver’s license or a state ID. Mentors also hold offenders accountable for staying on the right path and help them get back on their feet when they falter.
It’s great news that the grants just issued by the BJA’s Office of Justice Programs are meant to be used to help build the capacity of local communities to match returning offenders with a mentor. There were 507 applications for the first round of grants, and we anticipate even greater demand for the $15 million available this year. The mentoring grants are the only source of funding currently available for community- and faith-based groups under the Second Chance Act; so, be prepared for stiff competition.
The announcement from BJA has excellent step-by-step instructions, an invaluable checklist and a comprehensive syllabus of articles about mentoring. My hat is off to Gary Dennis and his team at BJA. They have done a terrific job establishing this grant program in a way that is understandable to those of us who are not in government service. [For the full article see: Justice Fellowship]