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  • Zach Ruppel

Creating a Reentry Ecosystem

For over a decade the Central Ohio Restored Citizens' Collaborative has produced dynamic, empowering events to support our returning neighbors. The effectiveness and impact of these events directly relate to the fact that they bring together the community as a whole and its network of social supports. This is the social safety net necessary to give individuals directly impacted by the criminal legal system the best shot at success. It is also what equity looks like.

But should it take large scale events for the community to collaboratively prioritize the needs of those reentering? In a recent report from the Department of Justice, Second Chance Fellow John Bae describes the vital work of creating what he calls "an ecosystem of reentry." This ecosystem is comprised of key elements that Central Ohio can point toward as opportunities for continued growth in our effort to increase access to permanent reintegration. Central to these recommendations is the notion of centering the voice of directly impacted community members not just in Second Chance month, but all year. This centering is certainly found in material support and mentoring, but as permanency in reintegration is established, it also must look like investing in the leadership and potential of those with a unique type of expertise in the system. Additionally, as directly impacted entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders emerge in existing ecosystems like Central Ohio, established, long-standing institutions must prioritize the incubating of these new service providers. In the all-too-common collaboration with scarcity approach to partnerships among non-profits, silos must be torn down and unified efforts can strengthen the social safety net.

Central Ohio possesses a resource rich database of service providers. But navigating this database in the absence of strong, collaborative approaches can open the door for increased risk to the newly returning person. The CORCC and its member organizations and invidious stand ready each day to not only serve those returning home but to continue modeling the collaborative efforts necessary to truly change the narrative.

To read more about John Bae' report, please visit:

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