Communitas works to facilitate the successful reintegration of those returning from prison. In line with a Restorative Justice approach, we believe that the community not only has an important stake in this success, but an important role to play as well.
Despite newfound physical freedom, those released from prison often remain excluded—living in the community, but stigmatized and isolated. All of this intensifies the difficulties of starting life anew after being incarcerated: identifying and accessing resources, finding housing, gaining employment, addressing mental health or substance abuse issues, adapting to changing times, establishing relationships, and repairing the harm caused through both crime and punishment. More than taking a personal toll on people looking for a second chance, this uphill battle only increases the risk of further crime and deprives the community of the contributions that these people might make.
Communitas works by bringing those who have spent time in prison together with everyday community members through a variety of initiatives for support, mentorship, accountability, empowerment, and belonging. In our experience, and as research on our work bears out, those put in the right conditions are much less likely to re-offend, are positive forces in their communities, and altogether provide a more hopeful and inspiring picture of what life after prison can be—for all of us.
Explore our different areas of work below and continue reading to find out more.