Statement of Need
A recent report from the Urban Institute found that, nationally, one in 100 Americans is incarcerated. In Missouri, that translates into nearly 33,000 adult inmates at one of 21 prisons, more than 51,000 on probation, and 17,000 on parole. On any given day, there are approximately 2,500 men and women in one of St. Louis City's or County’s jails.
St. Louis is known as a “gateway” for offenders to re-enter the community after prison. It is estimated that 17,000 individuals are released from prison throughout Missouri, of which a significant percentage return to St. Louis. Unfortunately, two-thirds of ex-offenders are rearrested within three years of release. Successful re-entry is obviously an issue of public safety for communities.
Social and environmental factors (poverty, racism, education), service factors (accessibility to and availability of quality, affordable programs) and physical factors (place of residence, housing and transportation) contribute to choices individuals make that result in initial or re-incarceration, and prohibit their ability to receive needed services in order to successfully become reintegrated into the community. Men and women enter U.S. prisons with limited marketable work experience, health-related issues, low education or vocational skills. When they are released from prison, these challenges affect neighborhoods, families and the community. Many prisoners with health conditions and issues do not receive treatment while incarcerated and are less likely to receive treatment upon release, thereby lessening the likelihood of successful reentry. This also holds true for education, job training and skills development, and life skills.
Children of incarcerated parents also face significant challenges and uncertainty. Having an incarcerated parent not only brings about stigma and shame, but can also result in emotional and behavioral changes such as depression, problems in schools, delinquency, drug use, aggression, and sometimes violence.
Services that include transitional housing, job training, and mentoring support have been shown to dramatically drive down recidivism rates. Further, planning for an incarcerated individual’s re-entry into society should begin when he or she enters the prison system. Most prisoners believe that strong, positive family support is an important factor in helping them stay out of prison, particularly if the support was strong before they entered the system. In addition, close family relationships may improve employment outcomes after release.
Faith-based organizations (e.g., churches, parishes, congregations, health and human service agencies) have and continue to play a critical role in supporting prisoners/ex-offenders and their families. In addition, faith-based organizations are viewed as pivotal in deterring antisocial behaviors through the promotion of spiritual values that encourage positive lifestyles and choices. Prison outreach ministries and reentry programs are highly regarded by most as a “best practice”. Faith-based programs are working to reduce recidivism and to serve the imprisoned in various ways from Bible study to the provision of basic daily living items, mentoring offenders, and reaching out to their family members through activities such as support, counseling, mentoring children, and providing transportation to prisons for visits.
To support the successful social reintegration of prisoners/ex-offenders by restoring their lives, families and communities, thereby enhancing community stability and public safety.
Objectives, Activities/Funding Priorities, and Outcomes
Lutheran Foundation has established the following objectives, activities/funding priorities, and outcomes for this funding focus area. We are also establishing evaluation methods to determine our success in achieving the outcomes identified.
Successful grant applicants will need to demonstrate how their request supports the following.
Support comprehensive, wrap-around services that meet the needs of prisoners/ex-offenders and their families in an effective, efficient and timely manner.
Services must be:
Note: One or more of these services may be provided by one organization or through collaborative partnerships with other agencies, most notably faith-based entities.
Christian congregations and faith-based organizations will:
Prisoners/Ex-offenders and their families will: