REAP's Women's Re-Entry Portal - Pathways for Success
Re-Entry Alliance Pensacola, Inc. dba REAP
In 2013, United States Federal District Court Judge Casey Rodgers was concerned with the high rate of recidivism reflected by the probationers appearing before her court and formed the Re-Entry Alliance Program, (REAP), as a mentoring program for the recently released federal probationers. Local attorneys volunteered to act as the program's mentors. During the ensuing years local business leaders volunteered to assist more ex-felons with their many post-incarceration needs. In 2017 and 2018, the Florida Legislature appropriated $200,000 to partially fund the Pensacola Re-Entry Portal, with the balance of funding coming from local sources. To date, REAP has provided comprehensive transitional services including housing to more than 400 returning citizens, while maintaining a recidivist rate of less than 15%, far below other re-entry programs. REAP's mission is to improve the safety and quality of life in Northwest Florida by enabling individuals returning from incarceration to be self-sufficient, crime-free, productive citizens and neighbors.
Drawing on REAP's five years’ experience working with more than 400 state and federal male ex-offenders, this project proposes to expand REAP's existing transitional program to include females returning to the Northwest Florida area from state prisons and the Escambia County Jail. Without proper re-entry assistance, more than 40% of these women will eventually return to prison within the first twelve months following release. REAP's considerable experience in providing interventions has proven that an Intensive Case Management System works, for the benefit of the individual, the family and the community. The target population is the approximately 130 women returning from years of State incarceration back home to Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties to live, work, and play. IMPACT 100 funds will be used to expand services, including housing, to women returning to the area. A case manager will establish a relationship with the releasing facility, coordinate intake, conduct a needs assessment, and arrange for immediate needs with regular follow-up. The cost of rental housing on a continually rotating basis will also be covered. Once immediate survival needs are met, the proposed program will provide job readiness training, job referral, and needed transportation to job sites until the women can make their own arrangements. Most importantly, this program will provide hope for a normal, healthy, crime-free productive life to an ex-offender at a most critical time.
The easiest way of measuring REAP's Women's Re-Entry Portal--a Pathway to Success program is to measure the rate of recidivism after specific periods following release. Traditionally, the expected recidivism rates for County jail prisoners is greater than 40% measured one year after release, and 50% after two years following release. Recidivism rates for persons released from State prison facilities are somewhat lower. REAP's goal is to cut these percentages down by one-half, to less than 20%, measured one year after release. Every day that these women remain out of jail and crime-free is a victory for them, their families, and the community. With costs of incarceration (both county and state) averaging $60 per day, the successful women's re-entry program envisioned by this organization could conceivably result in $500,000 savings each year for the local taxpayers, without even considering the far greater benefits to the individual and her family of being a productive member of society. The mission is to help these women live crime-free, productive lives in our community.