|Faith Community Partnership--2013|
|By Leonard A. Sipes, Jr., CSOSA Office of Legislative, Intergovernmental and Public Affairs|
CSOSA is an evidence-based federal executive branch agency providing parole and probation services to Washington, D.C.
Our Faith Community Partnership was initiated in FY 2002 as an innovative and compassionate collaboration to provide reintegration service for offenders returning to the community from incarceration. They are designed to support and enhance the participant’s successful re-reentry into the community.
This program bridges the gap between prison and community by welcoming the offender home and helping him or her create a new life.
Mentoring has been the primary focus of the faith community who offer support, friendship, and assistance during the difficult period of reentry.
During the transition from prison to neighborhood, returning offenders can be overwhelmed by small and large problems.
Participating offenders are matched with volunteer mentors from participating faith-based institutions.
The philosophy of mentoring is to build strong moral values and provide positive role models. Mentors also help identify linkages to faith-based resources that assist in the growth and development of mentees.
CSOSA divided the city into three service areas, or clusters, and funded a Lead Faith Institution in each cluster. We are in the process of working with these organizations to map resources, identify service gaps and build additional faith-based capacity.
As of September 30, 2013, 312 faith institutions are certified as mentor centers, 193 mentors are engaged with the program and 276 reentrants have been matched with a mentor.
Approximately 764 mentees have successfully completed the program since August 2007.
Intermediate outcomes indicate that offenders who participate may experience lower rates of technical violations, positive drug tests and re-arrests the longer they remain actively engaged with a mentor.
CSOSA is looking to expand the program into other areas that could benefit from collaboration with our faith community partners. Services including job training, substance abuse aftercare and support, transitional housing, family counseling and other services.
Currently a Citywide Advisory Council is facilitating additional partnerships in the areas of literacy, employment, substance abuse, health care, youthful offenders and housing.
Click here to download the Faith-Based Mentors and Mentees of the Year--February 21,2013 Media Release
Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.
Other articles by Leonard Sipes Senior Public Affairs Specialist/Social Media Manager Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (a federal, executive branch agency) 633 Indiana Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20004
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