8% of $40,000 goal
Communities that fail to support individuals returning from incarceration increase the prevalence of criminal activity. Louisiana incarcerates a higher percentage of its people than any democracy on earth, and over 40% of the 10,000 individuals released annually from incarceration recidivate within five years. We know that incarceration impacts the entire family. Spouses lose a wage-earning household member and parenting partner; children suddenly transition to a single-caretaker environment; and mothers are helpless to protect their sons locked away across the State. These issues are not necessarily resolved when an incarcerated person is released. Frequently there is lingering conflict from before the incarceration. Sometimes there is resentment, anger, and shame because of the charge or events that took place during the incarceration. Even participants not experiencing conflict must reacquaint themselves with the day-to-day activities of their closest friends and family members in preparation for release.
The ReEntry Mediation Institute of Louisiana provides an opportunity for incarcerated individuals to have open, honest, and often difficult dialogue with their family members or support people in a private setting to prepare for their transition back into the community. It also helps in planning to address mental health and substance abuse issues. Mediation provides a chance to manage divergent expectations, which can resolve or prevent conflicts. By rebuilding relationships between incarcerated individuals and their chosen people, re-entry mediation taps into resources indigenous to the community and strengthens these connections, allowing for collaborative transition planning. Prison re-entry mediation is a crucial opportunity for the community to interrupt the cycle of incarceration. In Maryland, where this program has been in operation for 15 years, the probability of rearrest was reduced by 5%, a significant savings to both society and the state budget.