Circles of Support provides a support system for individuals leaving prison.
Imagine getting out of prison and the daunting feeling as you try to figure out a new life. Everything has changed; you don’t know where to start. JustDane provides the path.
The greatest challenge of someone coming out of prison is falling back into the old habits, lifestyle decisions and even social circles that contributed to their incarceration. This can lead to the person heading back to prison. Proper support and guidance can make all the difference to prevent this from happening.
Launched in 2003, Circles of Support are made up of 5-6 volunteers from the community, called Circle Members, and one individual who has recently been released from an institution called a Core Team Member.
The Circle Members work with their Core Team Member to help navigate the challenges they face when reentering back into society. These challenges often include the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of living everyday life.
The process of placing a Core Team Member in a support circle begins before they are released from prison. In-reach volunteers meet with a prospective Core Team Member to help determine what they need and work with them to create a reentry plan. Once released, the Core Team meets with their Circle Members weekly to create and work toward small, achievable goals.
The Circle helps the Core Team Member work through a variety of obstacles that previously incarcerated individuals face, such as finding a job, housing, transportation, and overcoming stigma.
Circle Members function to provide that support through a positive and accepting environment that holds their Core Team Member accountable for achieving the goals that will allow them to succeed in the community and prevent recidivism. Circles last 6 months to a year, and end once the Circle Members feel that the Core Team Member is established in the community and ready to independently manage their life.
If a Core Team Member has been out for 2 years and is doing well, they can request to be a volunteer themselves with JustDane. The Circles of Support program has shown that over 90% of Core Team Members have successfully completed the program.