Of the 600,000 individuals released from prison every year, 67 percent will return to a life of crime and imprisonment within three years. More than 80 percent of inmates incarcerated have committed a drug-related crime. Opportunities for successful re-entry into society are few. Keys to success are housing, document retreaval, addiction counseling, employment skills, job opportunities, reintegration into the family, and social and conflict resolution skills. Many churches and other groups minister to inmates in prison; however, organized discipleship and aftercare programs are rare. This is why we are so proud of our Aftercare program. We see tremendous fruit from working closely with our men in Aftercare. We also work closely with other organizations to provide the best possible training and care for our guys.
One of the unique things we do at ROD Ministries, is walk alongside our men once they are released from prison. Not all men need our Aftercare Program, but for those who do, we provide a home and some structure for them.
On the inside, men are told when to eat, what to wear, when to sleep, and so on. Plus, the commissary has 1 brand of toothpaste, one brand of shaving cream, etc. Can you imagine what it would feel like standing at the toothpaste aisle at Walmart after having one brand to choose from? Walmart can be overwhelming for anyone, let alone someone who has been on the inside for many years.
Or think about how overwhelming job searching is and how stressful and intimidating interviewing is, without a felony on your record. We have strategic partnerships and vocational training for our men and are able to send them on targeted job interviews that are willing to hire our men knowing they have a felony on their record. It’s not the big decisions that overwhelm our men. It’s the thousands of little desicions we make before lunch that add up on our men. That’s why a support system is so critical.
Like our in-prison discipleship program, Aftercare is in three phases in order to slowly ease our men into independence.
Phase 1 of Aftercare is characterized by heavy accountability, through regular small groups, sign in sheets, and so on. While they have considerably more freedom than being in prison, it still provides structure. We do NOT have bunkbeds as that is reminiscent of prison. Instead, we have brand new twin beds and the men learn to cook, clean, and take care of a home—possibly for the first time. There is a House Manager that helps guide the men through the ins and outs and benefits available to them through the program.
As they begin to work, the men pay rent and help pay the bills. This allows them to begin to learn money managment and teaches them how to prioritize and budget their money. Often our houses are self-sustaining, allowing allocated funds to go toward other ministry needs.
Phase 2 of Aftercare has slightly less structure. By this time, they’ve been working for at least 6 months and are usually ready for some more freedom. They still have small groups and a decent level of accountability but have later curfews and have more freedom due to increasing work demands.
Phase 3 of Aftercare is the final phase before our men transition to a fully sustainable life on their own. We found that many times, when the men are ready to get to their own apartment or they’ve saved and are ready to buy a car, they have no credit. And these days, no credit is almost worse than bad credit. Phase 3 allows the men time to build some credit in order to get their own apartment and begin living life on their own.
We are currently looking for our Phase 3 house. Please contact us if you have any leads for us to look into.
Following release, ROD provides clients with:
- Residential placement if needed
- Transportation such as bus passes
- Job referrals and resume writing
- Clothing, shoes, toiletries and food
- Routine medical exams and procedures via mobile medical unit
- Weekly Christian support groups for clients and their families
- A central directory of available resources and referrals to local providers
- Assistance obtaining driver’s licenses, birth certificates and Social Security cards
- Consultation, encouragement and prayer
“Bridges of Hope” initiative to maintain contact with and support for clients who choose not to enter a residential program.
No donation is too great or to small for the work of the minsitry here at ROD. We have big goals and aspirations and are constantly seeking ways to help more men in a deeper, more meaningful and longlasting levels. Please consider being one of our partners in ministry by giving to Restoration Outreach of Dallas.