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City overhauls ex-offender program

See the press release below:

Philadelphia, March 22, 2010 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter today announced changes to the City's re-entry program for ex-offenders which include changes in the program's name, mission and location. In January, Mayor Nutter signed an executive order creating the Mayor's Taskforce on Re-Integration. This name change from the Mayor's Office of Re-Entry (MORE) to Mayor's Office of Reintegration Services for Ex-Offenders (RISE) signified a change in the Office's philosophy from providing direct services to a managed re-integration model where RISE hires qualified service providers and engages in monitoring performance-based contracts. The program also physically moved offices. RISE is now located in Center City, which is much more accessible from all parts of the city.

"When an inmate leaves the Philadelphia prison system, we want to make it easier for them to successfully resume their lives. Our goal as a city is to increase the number of jobs not jails," said Mayor Nutter. "The changes to the re-entry program not only make RISE more accessible to all Philadelphians but also smarter in its provision of resources."

For the last 18 months, the managed reintegration network has proved to be successful in decreasing recidivism rates in Philadelphia. Nationally, almost 65% of those leaving the prison system are likely to re-offend. Of the almost 300 ex-offenders that have gone through the program, less than 5% have been incarcerated again.

The re-entry program has also formed new partnerships with organizations to provide life coaches and mentors to 250 ex-offenders. The partner organizations include: Alpha Commercial District Corridor (CDC) in West Philadelphia, the Brothers Network in Center City and North Philadelphia, Kingdom Care Reentry Network in South Philadelphia, People for People in North Philadelphia, and Project Echo in West Philadelphia.

RISE is also collaborating with America Works, which has proven success in New York and other cities, to provide "rapid attachment" to permanent employment for 250 ex-offenders. America Works will be co-located at the RISE site.

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