Updated: Jan 25
As members of the community, we have an obligation to address the causes that lead to crimes/harms being committed and to prevent future offenses from occurring. Returning Citizen Services (RCS) seeks to do this by addressing the lack of accessibility and information for services available to citizens returning after incarcerations. https://calvin.edu/restore/rc/
Artist entered TEECH Foundation 4 years ago, fresh from the penal system.
He stated, "I have never had a job and know nothing about living a life on the straight and narrow. I have spent most of my life using substances and in and out of prison. I don't want to die like this, and if I go back out there, I will most likely not make it back. I started this lifestyle because I wanted to hang with the Kool kids, which was a big mistake, looking for acceptance. So, I came to realize the problem was my thinking and behavior and limited resources."
During the past three decades, there have been dramatic increases in the U.S. prison population. At the end of 2012, there were approximately 2.3 million incarcerated adults—a more than 300% increase since the 1980s—making the prison population in the United States the largest in the world (Carson & Sabol, 2012; Minton, 2012). Much of this mass expansion has been fueled by increases in the arrest, prosecution, and incarceration of drug-related offenses. Since the 1980s, the number of drug offenders in state and federal prisons has increased more than ten-fold (Clear & Frost, 2014).
Almost all inmates will eventually be released and are expected to reintegrate back into the community (Langan & Levin, 2002; Petersilia, 2005), and many of these returning inmates have a substance abuse problem. Over half of all inmates meet criteria for drug dependence, with rates four times higher among males and nine times higher among females in comparison to the general population (Carson & Sabol, 2012; Mumola & Karberg, 2006). Previous research has demonstrated that over half of all inmates are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of their arrest (Karberg & James, 2002), while nearly three-quarters have reported using drugs regularly prior to incarceration (Petersilia, 2005).
Despite this disproportionate rate, evidence suggests few inmates will receive intensive substance abuse treatment while incarcerated (Mitchell, Wilson, & MacKenzie, 2007; Mumola & Karberg, 2006; Prendergast, 2009; Taxman, Perdoni, & Harrison, 2007). Drug-involved offenders are twice as likely to recidivate, suggesting that many returning inmates may be rearrested because of their inability to refrain from substance abuse (Blumstein & Beck, 2005; Karberg & James, 2002; Prendergast, 2009; Warner & Kramer, 2009).
Recovery-oriented approaches encourage reentering individuals to assume responsibility for their recovery, expand their network of support, and apply the skills that RSAT programs impart. When community-based treatment, peer recovery support, and important social services are in place upon release, it affords RSAT graduates a foundation upon which to build a better life in the community without drugs and alcohol.
RECOVERY SUPPORT WORKS
Artist became very focused and determined to stay on the right track. He worked diligently in the change process with his recovery coach and peer educators. He was invested and got all the necessary documents such as ID, Social Security Card, Link Card, and Birth Certificate within two weeks. He showed that he was adamant about executing his goals and changing his thinking and behavior patterns. Artist confidence with becoming employed heightened. He completed all that was suggested, including maintaining his recovery, remaining in the recovery home, getting his driver's license, and developing a resume. Artist obtained his employment through our partner Teamwork Englewood (Mr. Mark Mitchell). He has maintained employment with Dakota Integrated Staffing for four years. He is a union steward and has obtained many promotions since he has been at Dakota. He is now the Facility Technician, and he also supervises others.
Artist has accomplished so many things in his four years of recovery.
He is now off parole and acquired no new legal infractions during these four years.
He has regained relationships with his children, grandchildren, and family.
He has his own place of residence and manages the property he resides in.
He has purchased two cars.
He has a bank account and two life insurance policies
He is continuing his mother's legacy of clothing and feeding the homeless.
He is now currently seeking to purchase his very first home.
The biggest highlight is Artist provided Dakota with an idea that saved the company millions of dollars, and he was awarded $50,000.00.
Artist said, "I came to TEECH and acquired the tools that I needed to maintain and make it to where I am today, which is to strive for excellence. All it took was one person to say they cared, and that was my hope shot, and I took it and stirred it up, and I came out with great positive things."