Eighteen months prior to release; the DHF will establish a line of communication with the individual through the “Pre-Release Communications Program.” The program’s goal is to seek and establish a dialogue through trust and consent. The foundation would work in conjunction with the individual and correctional facility to lay the groundwork for a successful re-connect with family and loved ones.
In addition to communicating with the inmate to establish a rapport; the foundation will provide stationary items and cards to correspond with family and loved ones. The goal is to bridge gaps and hopefully, initiate and begin an open dialogue that will continue after release. Optionally, and on a case by case basis; the DHF will provide transportation or resources for immediate family members to visit the individual while incarcerated.
Conditionally, cell phones may be provided. The DHF knows better than most how much a cell phone means to individuals attempting to reintegrate into the “real” world.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for individuals assimilating back into society after serving time in prison is a basic outfit to wear when leaving the facility. The challenge is more troubling for individuals who have limited funds or resources. The DHF understands the purpose of “up-to-date” clothing as a necessity to project a positive first impression and the crucial role “in style” clothing plays in mediating social interactions for individuals returning to their community.
For the DHF, fashionable clothing is an option through which former inmates are able to re-engage with society as someone other than a former prisoner. Updating an individual’s appearance and clothing styles establish an identity that promotes assimilation. The clothing provided by the foundation is critical to the reintegration process and the re-introduction of each individual to their perspective community.
An important part of the reentry process is to look as if one belongs in order to diminish the appearance of the “just released from prison” label. Clothing style and attire can conceal the prison experience and mask the criminal profile; however, a new haircut, fresh hairdo, shaves and/ or manicure will complete the package and give the individual a polished up to date image. The foundation’s goal is to provide haircuts, complimentary shaves, manicures, and/or a new hair-do for the first 3 months of an individual’s release through the “Men/Women Groomed Package.”
The struggle to recover from criminalization and incarceration is a common experience that is shared by most individuals recently released. When individuals leave prison, they have a resource in the DHF, which understand what they’re going through. Every month, the DHF will hold a peer support group called “A Return to the Community or A.R.C *.” A.R.C is a support system enabling the formerly incarcerated to receive and provide support for each other on everything from rebuilding family relationships too life-skills classes focusing on anger management, parenting, obtaining IDs, technology, and financial literacy.
The goal is to introduce and inspire; the support group consists of other people who have successfully made the transition out of prison. They help and support recently released individuals; hoping, their involvement will empower individuals to feel confident that they too will be able to re-integrate into mainstream society or navigate a return to the community.**