Building Second Chances: Tools for Local Reentry Coalitions
This toolkit is designed for local city, county, and community leaders who want to play an active role in improving reentry policy, practice, and outcomes. Within, you will find user-friendly references to seminal publications, research findings, and noteworthy examples of the foundational knowledge needed to design new reentry strategies and reinvigorate existing ones.
Establishing or reinvigorating a formal reentry coalition is crucial for encouraging, leading, and implementing the changes that are necessary to address the wide range of local reentry needs. But managing multisystem, collaborative initiatives is a challenge for many local communities. This section will help you see who should be at the table and how to structure your coalitions.
The information and resources in this section include:
- Sample reentry coalition member list
- Sample reentry coalition mission statements
- Questions to consider
- Example from the field
- Quick references
The list below offers examples of the kinds of people and organizations that might be a good fit for your reentry coalition:
|Sample Reentry Coalition Members
Below are a sampling of mission statements from existing local coalitions that are supporting their communities’ reentry efforts:
The following are some Questions to Consider as you work to establish, structure, and strengthen your local reentry coalition:
Questions to Consider
|Does your local reentry coalition have the authority and commitment to lead reentry efforts?
To influence the systems involved in reentry, coalition members should be decision makers or experts within their agencies or organizations. Ideally, they should be prepared to actively and regularly engage in coalition meetings, and they ultimately should be invested in considering how their agency can shift policy or practice to improve reentry outcomes.
|Does your coalition have the members it needs?
The local reentry coalition should represent the key agencies, organizations, and members of the public involved in reentry in your community. If you are reinvigorating an existing reentry coalition, consider engaging new members who may not have been part of previous efforts or who can offer a different perspective that is not already represented in the group.
|Does your coalition have a defined structure?
Beyond having an agreed-upon mission, vision, or guiding principles, your local reentry coalition needs established roles, responsibilities, meeting times, and decision-making protocols. Any group that includes multiple, differing perspectives—as a reentry coalition should do—likely will encounter conflict and differences in opinion. Establish a process to navigate these differences.
The Example from the Field below demonstrates how one locality established their local reentry coalition:
Example from the Field
Building a Collaborative Steering Committee
In 2015, Palm Beach County, Florida became one of two sites in the country to pilot an innovative approach to reducing recidivism and increasing the employability of people returning to the community from prison and jail. Driving the county’s initiative was a steering committee led by the Palm Beach County Public Safety Department (PSD) in partnership with the county’s sheriff’s office, workforce development board, and community-based reentry service providers; the Florida Department of Corrections; and other agencies at the city, county, and state levels.
Find out how (PDF) the steering committee helped advance the pilot project's work.
The Quick References in this section provide detailed guidance on systemic reentry reform and supports:
Transition from Prison to Community: Reentry Handbook (2008)
Transition from Jail to Community: Implementation Toolkit (2013)