The Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has announced seventeen grants totaling $1 million in support of prison reentry reduction programs.
The foundation's Prison Reentry Initiative aims to dramatically reduce the percentage of formerly incarcerated individuals who return to prison and increase the cost savings to communities associated with successful reintegration. The funding will support efforts to provide services to the approximately 95 percent of incarcerated individuals in Louisiana — which has the highest incarceration rate in the world — who return to their communities after their release from prison.
Grant recipients include Awana Lifeline Prison Ministries, which was awarded $40,000 for programs focused on disrupting the generational prison pipeline through efforts to strengthen the bonds between incarcerated parents and their children; Capital Area Human Services District, which will receive $50,000 for a program that works to ensure that prisoners identified with mental illness/substance abuse are assessed at the beginning of their incarceration by a behavioral health professional and a peer support specialist and receive a behavioral healthcare plan that they can follow while incarcerated and for at least six months post-release; the Louisiana Public Health Institute, which will receive $25,000 to provide parishes with data to map the needs of reentry populations against the availability of support services; and SocialWorx Institute, which was awarded $25,000 for a program aimed at building a seamless continuum of care in communities and to promote inter-agency collaboration, peer learning, and information sharing across the state.
"Since January 2016, our partners have served five thousand individuals returning home from incarceration," said Wilson Foundation president Dan Bevan. "More than a thousand have gained vital skills and are maintaining stable life conditions. Employment is vitally important to personal stability, and more than a hundred and twenty employers have committed to hiring returning citizens. In addition, seventy-five community members have volunteered to be mentors, providing social and emotion supports for what can often be a difficult transition."