On August 3, 2018, the Dick Conner Correctional Center graduated the third class of “Getting Ahead While Getting Out”, since the program began in 2016. Ten graduates received certificates.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections volunteers, Stan and Pat Mills conducted classes 2.5 hours per week for 20 weeks at the minimum security unit.
The United States imprisons more people than any other nation in the world. Rarely discussed, however, is that more than 90% of those prisoners will be released from state custody at some point. How do we help these returning citizens reintegrate when they come home?
Stan and Pat Mills, sponsored by The Assembly in Broken Arrow, hold classes the facility twice a week. The “Getting Ahead While Getting Out” program is co-sponsored by The Salvation Army and The Assembly. Pat and Stan have been program volunteers for many years.
The intended outcome from “Getting Ahead While Getting Out” is a reduction in recidivism rates, but the underlying goal is to see returning citizens take charge of their own lives.
Getting ahead is unique in that it deals with all the causes of poverty (low resources), and charges the inmates (called investigators), to analyze their situation to resolve their problems and to help transform their communities.
This reentry model provides citizens returning from incarceration and their families a comprehensive, community and relationship-based approach to reentry that begins in pre-release and follows through with long-term support.
The goal is to engage incarcerated individuals, their families, volunteers, community organizations, and people in corrections as problem solvers who work shoulder to shoulder to create communities where everyone can live well.
This program idea stems from the book “Bridges Out of Poverty”, Strategies for Professionals and Communities. Poverty and unstable situations can trap people and make it very difficult for them to plan for the future which is the very thing needed to stabilize one’s environment and build adequate resources and financial assets.
Inmates leave the program with goals, plans, self-confidence and a support team to help them upon release.