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The College Initiative Peer Mentoring Project

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $299,999)

The Second Chance Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-199) provides a comprehensive response to the increasing number of people who are released from prison and jail and returning to communities. There are currently over 2.3 million individuals serving time in federal and state prisons, and millions of people cycling through local jails every year. Ninety-five percent of all prisoners incarcerated today will eventually be released and will return to communities. The Second Chance Act will help ensure the transition individuals make from prison or jail to the community is safe and successful. Section 211 of the Act authorizes grants to nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Indian tribes that may be used for mentoring projects to promote the safe and successful reintegration into the community of individuals who have been incarcerated.

The Second Chance Act grant programs are designed to strengthen jurisdictions characterized by large numbers of returning offenders. 'Reentry' is not envisioned to be a specific program but rather an evidence-based process that begins with initial incarceration and ends with successful community reintegration, indicated by lack of recidivism. Per the Second Chance Act, funded mentoring projects should use validated and dynamic assessment tools to determine the risks and needs of offenders included in the project's target population. Program components must include mentoring adult offenders during incarceration, through transition back to the community, and post-release; transitional services to assist in the reintegration of offenders into the community; and training regarding offender and victims issues.

Applicant agencies/organizations are expected to demonstrate their capability to deliver or broker the provision of transitional services proposed to be offered in conjunction with the core mentoring component. Examples of 'transitional services' designed to increase success in reentry and thus reduce recidivism might include the establishment of a pre-release mentoring relationship, housing, education, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, services to enhance family reunification, job training and readiness, and post-release case management.

The Fund for the City of New York will use the FY 2009 Second Chance Act Mentoring Grants to Nonprofit Organizations funds to support the addition of a peer mentoring program to supplement their College Initiative (CI) program's existing array of services which. Current services include: (1) Outreach and recruitment; (2) on-site presentations at pre-release facilities; (3) orientation and assessment; (4) academic and social preparation; (5) academic remediation through a College Prep program; (6) financial aid counseling; and (7) linkages to other reentry services. The CI is an innovative approach to reentry that helps persons returning from incarceration to overcome numerous obstacles to pursuing higher education, lack of financial resources and social support. The goal of this initiative will be to increase participant retention and success rates by matching advanced CI students with incoming students to provide assistance and support as they make the transition to college life. CI's model requires potential peer mentors to be CI students (formerly incarcerated) who have at least two semesters of college experience and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. CI's peer mentoring program will train at least 40 mentors and will provide mentoring services to at least 120 CI participants.


Date Created: September 15, 2009