News

Helping People—and Communities—Thrive After Prison

A policy report released this week by the Urban Institute features Colorado’s Work and Gain Education and Employment Skills (WAGEES) program, a novel partnership between a state department of corrections and local community organizations to develop and invest in expansive public safety strategies that are driven by communities. The Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition (CCJRC), a Public Welfare Foundation grantee, has been a key partner in this effort.

The local organizations—which receive grants from the state through an intermediary, the non-profit Latino Coalition for Community Leadership (LCCL) —provide critical services such as housing, educational and employment training, mental and behavioral health support, and substance abuse treatment to help people returning from prison successfully reintegrate into the community. After more than two years, the program has already resulted in a nine percent recidivism rate. In addition to describing the program, the policy brief offers lessons for other states that want to explore a community-based public safety investment strategy.   

Urban also worked with Lake Research Partners to conduct focus groups and a national poll, which showed broad public support for a wide range of community-based reforms and services to improve public safety. The poll found that 78 percent of voters support proposals to move funding from incarceration to community-based public safety programs, including a solid 57 percent majority who expressed strong support, and only 16 percent who opposed such proposals.

Those sentiments are reflected in Colorado where, recently, the state’s House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to reauthorize the grant program, asking CCJRC and LCCL to develop an expansion plan and a larger budget.

To see a summary of the report, click here.

To see the full report, click here

 

ABOUT THE PUBLIC WELFARE FOUNDATION

The Public Welfare Foundation supports efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need. These efforts honor the Foundation’s core values of racial equity, economic well-being, and fundamental fairness for all. The Foundation looks for strategic points where its funds can make a significant difference and improve lives through policy and system reform that results in transformative change. For more information, visit www.publicwelfare.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter or on Facebook.

Stay Informed with our eNewsletter

Share

Search