Building Second Chances: Tools for Local Reentry Coalitions

PARTS 1 & 2

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.

Develop strategic messaging Icon of pdf document

For your local reentry coalition to successfully engage the public, you will need to create strategic messaging that reaches each of the influential community members and networks you’ve identified. In this part of the toolkit, you’ll learn how to create a coordinated communication plan to help your coalition organize and streamline strategic messaging; maintain energy behind the reentry strategy; manage the narrative surrounding proposed policy, practice, and funding changes; and hold reentry coalition leaders publicly accountable for making change.

The information and resources in this section include:

The Questions to Consider in this section will help you create successful messages and evaluate their impact:

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Questions to Consider
Circular icon of presentation on a projector screen with bullet points Have you established a set of talking points?
A successful awareness campaign about reentry hinges on succinct and persuasive expression of the challenges you are seeking to address. See Appendix E for sample talking points that can be adjusted to reflect your unique context. As you tailor talking points for your community, be sure to articulate a problem statement that will resonate widely.
Circular icon of an array of people in the shape of a circle Are you using information that you already have gleaned from community members?
If your local reentry coalition has engaged members of the public from the beginning, you likely have accumulated a lot of information about what is on the minds of people in your community. Think about what you have heard from local residents throughout this process to help anticipate concerns and reactions that your coalition and its supporters might encounter.
Circular icon of a magnifying class examining an image of a person Are you prepared to monitor the impact of advocacy efforts?
As your local reentry coalition engages community members to advocate for policy, practice, and funding changes, it will be helpful to know which of their tactics are most effective and should be expanded and which tactics are less impactful. Use your communication plan to track how community members’ advocacy efforts are received by decision makers and which efforts yield positive results.