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.
You will need to conduct outreach beyond the local reentry coalition to engage people who can help obtain commitment from the relevant decision makers. In this part of the toolkit, you’ll start building a list of potential community members and networks who are well-positioned to influence key decision makers.
The information and resources in this section include:
These Questions to Consider will help you identify potential partners, groups, and networks who have influence over decision makers who can help advance your reentry strategy:
Questions to Consider
|Are there existing community networks you can partner with to advance your priorities?
It is unlikely that your local reentry coalition will be starting from scratch when it comes to galvanizing social will for improvements to the reentry process. Be sure to research whether there are any nonprofits, governmental organizations, or grassroots groups whose goals might dovetail with your coalition’s priorities. Partnering with such entities can be helpful not only for making inroads with decision makers but also potentially for sharing resources, including marketing materials and community volunteers. Doing so also can help you avoid duplicating efforts and connect with people who initially may have been skeptical of your coalition’s work.
|Have you identified a representative group of community members to engage?
Carefully consider geography, demographics, and interests to ensure that you are focused on engaging a diverse, representative group of people and developing a broad base of support. To be as inclusive as possible, make sure that you are connecting with “hard-to-reach” groups in your community, such as young people, elderly people, and marginalized groups. Tapping into existing community networks can help with this particular aspect of engagement.
|Are you including people without traditional leadership experience?
Although you might be inclined to engage people who have had formal leadership training or experience, broadening the scope beyond established leaders can lead to the inclusion of important perspectives. Community members who are not currently in leadership roles might be able to provide insight that your local reentry coalition has not considered and help you understand the level of support for the reentry strategy among people who exercise less public influence in your community.