Greetings Friends of Fair Shake,
Dec 14, 2015
Sorry for such a long absence!
Since we last sent out an electronic newsletter, I have presented Fair Shake to more than 6000 inmates, prison staff, reentry service providers, educators, concerned citizens, students and more.
In July, I received an award from the Correctional Educators Association for Technological Advancement in Correctional Education Settings.
And in September Fair Shake co-hosted a very successful Reentry Summit within FCI Ray Brook, a Federal prison in northern New York. That was an exciting conference!
Over the course of the year we’ve put our reentry packets in the hands of approximately 4000 incarcerated people and we gained 163 new members. In just the past 6 months, our website visits have increased by 60%. Our growth has occurred primarily by word-of-mouth.
We have several reasons to believe we are poised to grow rapidly in 2016. And we have several reasons to believe we are ready.
Reason #1: Terrell Hall
Fair Shake is pleased and honored to welcome Terrell Hall as our Outreach Manager! Terrell is a creative thinker, a great listener and he is not afraid to jump in with both feet. He is our main contact person for resource and reentry questions. He will manage our website including supporting our members and visitors, building pages and writing content for the website and the Reentry Packet. And he will make sure we share our news more frequently!
Terrell is a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor, a Counseling Aide certified through the Dept. of Labor, has many years of facilitating experience and has worked in the reentry field since 2003. He is a formerly incarcerated individual who chose to use his time in prison to educate himself and others. Through his own journey of change, Terrell has learned to be patient and understanding of the journey of others.
“A series of moments forced me to look at things differently. I began to truly value myself and understand that I controlled my destiny. I learned that change would require a sincere effort.”
Watch for project updates!
Reason #2: Robert Hudson
Sue met Robert Hudson indirectly, but when the two started talking about people coming home from prison, they found they had very similar points of view… which also synchronized with the views Terrell holds. Robert is a Peer Mentor, a student, an advisor and more. Peer mentorship is a powerful avenue for guiding people through the challenges of reentry through the experiences of someone who’s ‘been there’. We are excited to see where this potential collaboration could go.
Reason #3: Software
Our website-simulation software is gaining traction around the country. It is being utilized in 5 states and we’re receiving requests to review the software from many other states. Wisconsin is blazing a powerful and unique trail in allowing inmates to have limited access to our website so they can see resources as we add them, and new and improved pages as the website grows. The Bureau of Prisons is also reviewing the software presently for possible inclusion in 122 facilities.
Reason #4: Reentry Councils
As I present Fair Shake in prisons around the country,
I find highly motivated individuals who create groups dedicated to creating ‘best practices’ for reentry. These peer groups are excited about the Fair Shake Reentry Packet and some even use it as a ‘text book’ for reentry workshops and more. They are interested in sharing information between institutions and sometimes the staff is also enthusiastic about this idea as well.
We are now working on a way to encourage information sharing through our website/hub. Our first task is to create and share a ‘Recommended Reentry Reading List’. We’ll share it with you, too!
With all of these amazing opportunities for engagement, we now turn to our community to help us expand our reach and our impact.
Why are we asking our community and not seeking grants? Please consider this question: why did a lip balm maker, and not the federal government, make the first nationwide Reentry Resource Directory? Why are there no other organizations going into the prisons to hear what inmates are looking for and create ways for them to share ideas? Basically, there is very little support for building and maintaining a resource center that provides FREE tools to anyone and everyone who wishes to participate in supporting reentry success. Most of the grants that are available for reentry are written in such a way that they keep things right where they are: where we spend billions of dollars in ‘corrections’ while 76.6% of our formerly incarcerated citizens will be rearrested within 5 years of release.
Will you please help us change the climate of reentry?
(More than 1700 people come home from prison every day.)
Please check out our powerful tools on our website such as the Resource Directory, the Reentry Packet, and the Ownership Manual….our Employment, Employers, and Ban The Box pages….and our Computer Basics tutorial and Educate Yourself pages. We’re excited to continue building! Please consider joining us…and supporting us….as we bring a powerful message of hope and connection to our citizens who will be coming home.
OUR GOALS FOR 2016 INCLUDE:
- Support Inmate Reentry Councils in developing best practices and sharing information between institutions and also co-create Reentry Classes, Workshops and Self-Directed Studies.
- Print and distribute 8000 Reentry Packets and 15,000 pocket-size Ownership Manuals.
- Grow and maintain our nationwide Resource Directory.
- Provide a central location for returning citizens to contact for support.
- Present Fair Shake to thousands more inmates, staff, reentry coalitions, employers, activists, students and community groups around the country.
- Increase exposure to our software and make it THE STANDARD for reentry.
We are excited about the possibilities and hope you will support us as we engage with our neighbors in their preparation to come home. We all must work together to build the strong communities that we all wish for. Even small donations go far at Fair Shake! Donating frequent fliers miles will send us a long way, too.
FREE with a $120 donation: Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Sampler Pack!
Dr. Bronner’s has been a generous supporter of Fair Shake since its inception. They are extending their generosity to you by offering a free gift of eight assorted 8 oz. bottles of Dr. Bronner’s organic and fair trade hemp oil liquid castile soap plus a bottle of organic, hemp and fair trade lotion to everyone who donates $120 or more.
Thank you for your interest in our work! We’re looking forward to communicating regularly in 2016 ~ : )
Ubuntu! ~ sue
Founder and Director