Resources for Convicted Felons

By Leonard Dozier
Leaving the barbed wire behind

razor wire 5 image by Dwight Davis from Fotolia.com

Upon release from prison, convicted felons often have a difficult time getting reacclimated to society. This is, in large part, because of attitudes developed toward them. Those on probation or parole must often appeal to their officers for assistance in getting jobs or housing. However, a number of resources exist for convicted felons, ranging from nonprofit to government programs.

Passage Home

The Passage Home program is located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and prides itself on "giving people a hand up and not a hand out." Passage Home formed in 1991 and is classified as a faith-based, nonprofit organization. Among the organization's four programs (housing and support services, economic development, youth development and neighborhood revitalization), the housing and support services program offers a program specifically for women who have been convicted of felony crimes. Through the "Harriet's House Reentry Program," female felons are offered up to 24 months of residence in addition to employment assistance, parenting classes and assistance with finding permanent housing. The "Harriet's House Reentry Program" was acclaimed for its service in 2009 by the National Criminal Justice Association.

Passage Home 712 W. Johnson St. Raleigh, NC 27603 919-834-0666 passagehome.org

Reentry

Reentry takes its name from the Prisoner Reentry Program, an affiliate program of the U.S. Department of Justice. Under this program, monies are divided up among the states for a variety of services that will help felons return to their communities and live meaningful lives. Since monies are given to each state, each state determines how the money will be utilized. Most states use funding for job placement service, drug and substance abuse counseling, mentoring services and medical services. Also, state programs are geared toward certain age groups, with many programs targeting juvenile felons. Those who need assistance should contact their state parole board or department of corrections.

US Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, D.C. 20530 202-514-2000 justice.gov

The Fortune Society

According to its website, Fortunesociety.org, the Fortune Society exists to provide those who have been incarcerated for felonies or misdemeanors an opportunity to contribute positively to society. Since 1966, the organization has provided a number of programs in housing, health and counseling services to help convicted felons function and make contributions to society. The Fortune Academy, located in Harlem, New York, provides residency for homeless convicted felons. Much like a shelter, the academy is fully staffed and provides meals, support groups and a computer lab. Additionally, many convicted felons are infected with diseases such as HIV/AIDS. The Fortune Academy provides case management, outreach and treatment programs. Many felons receive these services slightly before their release date. Finally, the organization provides ESL and GED education to interested convicted felons. The organization states that it provided educational services to more than 300 felons in 2009.

Fortune Society 29-76 Northern Blvd. Long Island City, NY 11101 212-691-7554 fortunesociety.org

About the Author

Leonard Dozier is a freelance writer based in southern New Jersey and New York. His film and sports columns have been published by "Casino Connection Magazine" and Trev Rogers sports respectively. A prolific and extremely versatile writer, he is an ASCAP songwriter and has written screenplays and stage plays registered with the Writer's Guild of America.

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