Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $750,000)
Offender Aid and Restoration of Arlington County Inc. (OARA) is a community nonprofit which envisions a safe and thriving community where those impacted by the legal system enjoy equal civil and human rights. For over 48 years, OARA’s services have helped thousands of justice-involved individuals of all genders, and their families, navigate a safe reentry or avoid incarceration. OARA serves Arlington County and the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church in Virginia, Maryland, and District of Columbia.
"Project Second and Fair Chances for Individuals and Families" will help 40 people who identify as male incarcerated in the Community Readiness Unit (CRU) at Arlington County Detention Facility navigate a successful reentry by providing them up to 9 months pre-release and up to 18 months post-release transition services. Program participants will have been assessed by Corrections as medium to high risk of reengaging with the criminal legal system. Example offenses may include probation violations, drug-related possession and distribution, assault, crimes related to economic need, and robbery. CRU residents spend about 80 percent of their waking hours receiving workshops and transition planning support, and are within 3 to 9 months of release.
OARA's program involves extensive cooperation and coordination with local and state correctional partners. Pre-release services include risk assessments, one-on-one reentry coaching and planning, weekly workshops, and cognitive-behavioral therapies and psychotherapy with OARA staff and licensed clinicians. Workshop topics include co-parenting, employment retention, conflict resolution, and healthy relationships among others. Post-release services include intensive case management tailored to each individual's needs and criminogenic risk factors, psychotherapy, facilitated support groups, family support and reunification, direct services/wrap around supports, and referrals for educational and vocational training to enhance participants’ employment opportunities.
Based on historical, self-reported data 70 percent of OARA's reentry participants are Black people (despite representing 4-12 percent of the service area population), 80 percent live in poverty, and 40 percent are high school graduates and/or experience homelessness after release from the detention facility. OARA assists participants and their families with basic needs, technology and clothing for work and daily living, housing, securing ID's/ birth certificates, and transportation to overcome these challenges. Local community and safety-net organizations deliver health, substance abuse, social, and other direct services.
OARA is an evidence-based, culturally specific organization. Priority 1(A) is discussed on page #14 and Priority 1(B) is on page #16.