Mississippi has an incarceration rate that is one of the highest in the world. Mississippi is a state of 2.96 million people where 37% are incarcerated in jails, federal prisons and state prisons. Mississippi has about 19,000 people in state prison at $15,000 per year that is costing taxpayers roughly $285,000,000 per year. Mississippi spends more on prisoners than students (about $10,000). Re-entry organizations are usually non-profits with small budgets, they have to fill in gaps with private donations, private donors are hard to find.
The top challenges for individuals returning back to their community after a period of incarceration is not knowing where to begin, family strain, finding employment, mental health issues, but the number one factor for recidivism is poverty. By lowering the recidivism rates, the benefits back to Mississippi include lower crime, the opportunity to re-allocate incarceration budgets to other state programs, increasing the number of taxpayers in Mississippi, lowering the unemployment rate and strengthening communities. To help reduce recidivism rates, re-entry programs have proven successful in re-establishing and re-integrating these citizens into society as productive and stable community members.
The Mississippi Center for Re-Entry focuses on helping prisoners with housing, work, social skills, electronic and technology skills, banking, mental health support and re-establishing relationships with families. Our mission is to provide inspiration and services, tools, programs, support groups and resources to formerly incarcerated individuals for successful re-entry into society in the local communities of Desoto, Tunica, Marshall and Tate counties. Mississippi Center for Re-Entry has successfully worked with six prisons throughout the state to re-established 245 citizens in the past 5 years with no repeat offenses that are fully employed, have housing and have reconnections with their friends and family.
We need to create direct mailing that will open the minds of the community, and members of the legislation that will bolster re-entry efforts and programs to expand job opportunities, increase access to housing, permit registration to vote, provide mental health programs, and reduce probation time, to name a few. This grant will help us to share the stories of those who have been involved in the criminal justice system and how our reentry services helped them get reaccumulated back into society.
Our strategic goals are: 1) employ formerly incarcerated individuals through full time work 2) help 500 formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrate back into their communities in the next year, and 3) advocate for and against legislation that bolsters reentry efforts and programs to expand job opportunities, increase access to housing, permit registration to vote, provide mental health programs, and reduce probation time, to name a few.
With the help of this grant, we will be able to get our message across the state on ensuring every person who leaves a period of incarceration receives the tools and resources they need to fully reintegrate back into their community.
You can learn more about our efforts by visit our website at www.msreentry.org or following all of our social media handles: Facebook @msreentry. Twitter: @msreentry, Instagram: @msreentry and on LinkedIn: @Mississippi-Center-For-Reentry.
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