Contact: Aiasha Khalid, Deputy Director of Strategy & Impact, Root & Rebound
Phone Number: (510) 279-4662
Root & Rebound Launches First Online Training Hub for People in Reentry
Nonprofit Leverages Technology to Create Second Chance Opportunities for People with Records
Oakland, California, October 25, 2016 – Root & Rebound, a reentry legal resource center based in Oakland, California, launched its online training hub today, the first of its kind in the United States. The online hub leverages technology to educate and empower individuals in reentry and with criminal records, as well as their families and advocates. While people in the United States are legally guaranteed an attorney at criminal trial, there is no one to help them, their families, or their advocates navigate the 44,000 documented legal barriers they face post-incarceration. Yet between 70 and 100 million Americans (1 in 3 adults) live with a criminal record and face enormous barriers accessing employment, housing, and basic stability as a result. A recent study noted that the U.S. poverty rate would have dropped by 20 percent between 1980 and 2004 if not for mass incarceration and the subsequent criminal record barriers that prevent people from accessing second chance opportunities long after they have served their time.
The online training hub breaks down complicated legal information through simple video instruction on how to navigate and prepare for the inevitable barriers individuals face as a result of a criminal record. The initial content focuses on California, and the organization plans to launch a national platform in the future.
The growth of prison populations has stabilized in recent years after nearly 40 years of mass incarceration that resulted in 500 percent growth of the U.S. prison population. An estimated 7 million Americans live under some form of correctional control (in prison, jail, or on probation and parole), and 95 percent of state prisoners will be released one day.
States like California have actually seen reductions in prison populations, in part due to policies like Prop 47, Realignment, and practices in parole release, but most people are released without adequate support. Today in California, 70,000 individuals are released from prison each year, with many more returning home from county jail. Each individual faces enormous hurdles when applying for housing and employment, and accessing basic stability in their communities, and an overwhelmed reentry infrastructure of social service and government agencies are unable to address these challenges alone.
“Through the online training hub, Root & Rebound is expanding its reach to provide vital reentry training to anyone with Internet access,” explained Root & Rebound Executive Director Katherine Katcher. “We believe that through access to critical legal information, empowerment, and long-lasting skill building, we can help people in reentry and the broader support infrastructure to understand, prepare for, and overcome tremendous hurdles, helping people return to their communities and stay out of prison or jail.”
Through the online training hub, which builds upon Root & Rebound’s Roadmap to Reentry Guide, users can view topic-intensive training videos onhousing, employment, parole and probation, education, cleaning up a criminal record, identification and voting, family and children, public benefits, and court-ordered debt.
“Online education is a growing field with websites like Khan Academy and Coursera. Through these sites, anyone can take classes and learn skills without paying for or traveling to a class,” says Katcher. “However, technology is not leveraged at the same pace in the reentry space. If knowledge is the most empowering tool at our disposal, then an online, state-of-the-art platform that brings information to people in reentry and their advocates is a critical part of the solution.”
Root & Rebound’s online training hub is available at: www.reentrytraininghub.org.
JOIN ROOT & REBOUND TO CELEBRATE THE ONLINE TRAINING HUB’S LAUNCH:
Root & Rebound will be holding a public event to celebrate the online training hub and showcase the innovative platform on November 9th, 2016, from 4-6 p.m. in its Oakland Office (located at 1730 Franklin Street, Suite 300, Oakland, CA 94612). Media invited, interviews available. Please visit the online training hub at www.reentrytraininghub.org
About Root & Rebound
Root & Rebound is a reentry legal education and resource center based in Oakland, California. We work to reverse the devastating effects of mass incarceration and over-criminalization and transform the experience of reentry by providing critical legal resources, education, and ongoing support to the individuals, families, and communities impacted.
- Year founded: 2013
- Impact since May 2015 programs launch
- 13,400 hard copy Roadmap to Reentry guide sent across the state and country;
- 7,400 readers of the online Roadmap to Reentry guide;
- 1,700 individuals trained on navigating reentry legal barriers, representing 350 organizations and agencies statewide;
- 590 hotline callers served and 4,780 individuals served through prison mail support.
Find social media campaign at #tech4secondchances. Tweet @ROOTandREBOUND. Facebook @rootandrebound.
SOURCE: Root & Rebound Reentry Legal Resource Center