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.

Identify new sources of funding Icon of pdf document

After maximizing existing resources, your local reentry coalition will want to identify additional funding opportunities that can support the most impactful, cost-effective, evidence-based approaches that align with your reentry strategy. This part of the toolkit will guide you through the process of determining what additional resources are required and how best to obtain them.

The information and resources in this section include:

The Questions to Consider below will help you determine new sources of funding for your work:

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Questions to Consider
Circular icon of a target with an arrow in the bullseye Do you have fundraising targets?
You will need defined fundraising targets to ensure that everyone on the local reentry coalition understands the goals you are trying to achieve and whether or not you have achieved them. To set and reach these targets, you will want to be as specific as possible about the amount of money that is needed by a certain date and its potential impact.
Circular icon of a group of three people Have you designated a person or group in your local reentry coalition to lead funding sustainability efforts?
This person or group—potentially a subcommittee on your local reentry coalition—should identify new funding opportunities, coordinate funding proposals, and advocate to policymakers to direct or set aside additional resources to support your reentry strategy, as necessary. Local policymakers may not know how additional funds can serve the reentry population; designating people who are strong storytellers and skilled writers can increase your chances of being awarded funding. Even after you receive any new funding, the designated coalition member or subcommittee will need to work toward financial sustainability such that activities can continue after grant awards run out or as budgets change.
Circular icon of flag-topped mountain mountain Are local budgets tied to your local reentry coalition’s recidivism-reduction goals?
The local budget may need to be adjusted to accommodate the policy and practice changes your local reentry coalition will identify in Section 2. To shape the local budget, your coalition will need to educate local reentry coalition leaders about its recidivism-reduction goals and how strategic investments can help increase public safety.
Circular icon of a person, center, connected to circles of a network of other people Are you leveraging community members and networks?
Engaging community members and other supportive networks can open doors to additional funding opportunities. With community support for your reentry strategy, you will have a better chance of convincing policymakers to allocate more funds for reentry programming and services. Keep in mind that community members themselves can be a valuable resource; if they are engaged in your reentry strategy, they might volunteer their time, expertise, and services or donate needed goods. For more information on building a base of support among local community members, see Section 3.

These Quick References contain tools and examples related to leveraging funding and program sustainability:

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Quick References

Financing the Future of Local Initiatives (2020)
This set of tools helps jurisdictions plan for the financial sustainability of criminal justice initiatives.

Integrated Funding to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails: Key Considerations for California County Executives (2018)
Consult this brief to learn more about how some localities are maximizing funding to serve people in the criminal justice system who have mental health needs.

Twelve Tactics for Sustainability
This worksheet from the Community Toolbox can be used to think through opportunities for sustaining your reentry strategy.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: What Corrections and Reentry Agencies Need to Know (2017)
This brief introduces corrections and reentry professionals to the basics of WIOA funds and how they can be used to support the reentry population.