YWCA Delaware is offering a pilot reentry program to adult men and women living in Delaware with criminal records. The #ProgressAfterPrison workshop is no-cost to participants, and uniquely utilizes the expertise of returning citizens themselves to teach entrepreneurial skills, how to cope with a criminal record and being a target for discrimination, as well as the way the system targets people of color and poor people and how to advocate for system change. The program also leverages partnerships with local nonprofits: The Achievement Center, ACLU of Delaware, and Delaware Law Enforcement for Progress.
Successful reentry from prison to “life outside the wall” is possible. To become successful people must understand the systemic, social, and legal barriers that are against them. During August and September of 2017, YWCA Delaware will offer a total of twelve individual workshops – 2 per week rotating to different areas of Wilmington – where a panel of facilitators will provide participants with an overview of employment after incarceration, entrepreneurship, ways to change risky behavior and factors in one’s life that can lead to re-incarceration, and the history of mass incarceration.
In addition to the introductory workshops and mentoring sessions, YWCA will offer two seminars “No Jobs & a Target on my Back” to participants, law enforcement, and the general public that will more broadly explain the thousands of legal barriers facing people with criminal records and what to expect in interactions with law enforcement. One seminar has already been scheduled for Thursday, August 17th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at The Achievement Center. Ryan Tack-Hooper, Esq. (of ACLU of Delaware) and Tom Donovan, Esq. will present the collateral consequences of criminal records, and a former police officer and former attorneys-general from DE Law Enforcement for Progress will talk about interactions with law enforcement, and the added targeting of people with an existing record.
YWCA Delaware hopes to see the #ProgressAfterPrison program have an impact in successful reentry, reducing recidivism, and building a cohort of returning citizens to become civically engaged towards criminal justice and anti-poverty reform.
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