Imagine being released from incarceration and back into the real world given only a trash bag to carry your belongings. This is how many incarcerated men and women are welcomed back to society.
ReConnect, Inc. is working diligently to put an end to it with our Welcome Home Reentry Bags inspired by Executive Director LaVon Stennis-William:
"Last Monday while leaving Nebraska State Prison after teaching a life skills and reentry planning class, I ran into a man who had just been discharged from prison.
His ride did not show and he had no money. I asked him several questions about his transportation and housing and both were supposedly one and the same. I scrounged up $17.00 and some change to give him and gave him my card to call us.
Many things were very troubling about this encounter including a clear lack of reentry planning, but what was disturbing was his belongings were in a garbage bag. Nothing says good luck in life like a black garbage bag. Today, I confirmed from NDOC staff many men leave prison with garbage bags to hold their belongings.
I asked was it okay to donate large duffle bags and was told it would be okay. ReConnect will order a supply of bags to donate and will include in each bag a hygiene kit and our contact information. If you would like to sponsor a welcome back bag and hygiene kit, the costs is $20.00.
Donations may be made via our website www.reconnectsuccess.com, click on the donate button."
Soon after we posted about the problem of discharged men and women leaving institutions with their property in trash bags, a real example comes into our office.
This gentleman was recently released from custody and immediately came to ReConnect. Inc. for help.
He had to walk from the facility carrying this garbage bag full of his belongings.
He was so proud when we gave him a Welcome Home Reentry Duffle Bag for his belongings.
Reentry success is predicated on how individuals are made to feel about reentry. The first 72 hours are very critical. Something as simple as a tote for their things can make a huge difference. Please consider donating to ReConnect, Inc. so we can continue to help reentry citizens regain their dignity and confidence with a Welcome Home Reentry Bag.