Phoenix Reentry Resources is achieving more with our initiatives than ever before, and we are very proud of the progress we continue to make. Below are some of our most recent projects. Learn more about what we do, who we help, and how we work every day to create a lasting impact.
FROM THE ASHES: OUR NEWSLETTER
Our interactive newsletter, "From The Ashes," serves as a vital communication link to individuals within the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Through Corrlinks, the BOP's internal email system, we've been sending positivity and hope for the past three years.
At its inception, we experimented with various content, including commissary recipes and movie reviews, but the response was lukewarm. Over time, we adapted the newsletter to include articles we believed would resonate with our audience. The challenges faced inside are shared, and we offer relevant news and information.
"From The Ashes" is integral to our work, as it serves as our primary means of communication with individuals seeking assistance from within prison. We encourage interaction, and many readers ask for specific information or news articles. For instance, when Colette Peters assumed the role of BOP Director, we promptly provided updates.
Despite limitations (plain text and 13,000 characters), we've recently received positive feedback for our special issues, focusing on topics such as Technology and Entertainment. These issues provide unique information not found in mainstream media, offering valuable learning opportunities.
It's within "From The Ashes" that we initiate our intake and needs assessment processes, building vital connections for growth and change. This is where word-of-mouth recommendations lead to new readers joining our newsletter. Ultimately, we use this platform to assist individuals in filling out paperwork for correspondence courses and preparing resumes for release, often with the prospect of job interviews.
Our mission is to provide every opportunity for those willing to make an effort to change. "From The Ashes" is the cornerstone of our work, connecting individuals and fostering transformation from the inside out.
The Flight Plan: Our Premiere Reentry Program
The Flight Plan is our primary reentry program. Early on, sometimes a year or more before their release, we start creating a reentry success plan. We do a comprehensive needs assessment, getting into the nuts and bolts of what it's going to take for them to make it outside without resorting to criminal activiy, recognizing in advance, the steps that lead to making that decision.
As we're building this reentry success plan, we're reaching out to non-profit organizations in the city they're releasing to. We call and talk to them, building that connection and finding someone there with justice experience that our person releasing will have some common ground with.
As their release date approaches, we make sure the person releasing has a phone number for us and for the person they'll be working with post-release. The person they'll be meeting has been given enough information about our new release that they can hit the ground running.
This pre- to post-release, wraparound support style is being used by other organizations such as our Carolina neighbors, Jumpstart Prison Ministries. They start working with people still on the inside and they have a 96% success rate.
DIVERTING MONEY AWAY FROM CORPORATIONS
While inside, I saw people paying for texting services, call forwarding and even providing search results. I, personally used Phone Donkey, a for profit company that provides an inmate with a phone number that is local to the facility they're in. This allowed my family and I to pay six cents per minute for local phone calls, as opposed to 21 cents per minute for long distance.
We don't really like seeing corporations profiting off of our misfortune and struggle so we decided to turn the tables on them and offer this service ourselves, issuing 100% of the profits to Phoenix Reentry Resources. This way, at least some of the money spent will go towards something we all care about, programs to help our loved ones inside.
Soon, we'll be launching My Phoenix Services. It will be a professional, state of the art services platform, allowing you to sign up for our call forwarding service, or any other services we are able to provide.
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Wusual it's going to take them 7 years to figure out how to implement it. In the meantime, we're researching the right combination of correspondence courses and ways to pay for them.
Additionally, on the education front, we talked about modifying an existing business basics course that's tuned to interest our specific audience. It may sound weird but changing some wording and meeting these guys where they're at will keep them engaged longer and boost comprehension.
With that line of thought, we'd like to offer a basic business certificate program, which will cover basic budgeting, bookkeeping, getting funding, writing a business plan and more. We'll have some sample business plans for businesses that are good fits for them, being in a rebuilding phase.
We've received lots of positive responses to having a "community organizing" certificate program. Many of these folks want to make some degree of amends for their transgressions, and even know that being a leader and role model in their community suits them, they're still unsure how to go about it. That's where Phoenix comes in and provides them a series of courses on non- profit administration, grant funding, actual community organizing (more to it than you might think) and more. And without a doubt, if someone really works at this, they'll get mentoring and support from us.
Prison is horrible because it's supposed to be. It's supposed to make one never want to go back. It also gives you the break from the rat race long enough (too long in the feds) to be able to do a course correction on life.
Without internet access, the need for outside assistance has never been greater. The world is moving much faster now and it's our mission to ensure that anyone willing to work for it has the resources they need to create meaningful change in their lives.