PBI’s Collaborative Justice ProjectTM is an innovative initiative that brings together representatives from different sectors of the community to develop and implement a measurable plan to reduce persistent and critical societal problems that impact some of the most vulnerable in our society.
PBI convened the first Collaborative Justice Project in Minnesota, deploying stakeholders from more than 25 organizations to reduce recidivism and dramatically improve the experiences and outcomes of formerly incarcerated men and women to enable them to lead full and productive lives in their communities.
An all-volunteer Steering Committee leads the Project and includes representatives from corporations, law firms, government agencies, and non-profit organizations in Minnesota, as well as men and women who were formally incarcerated.
To achieve the Project goals, the Steering Committee identified inter-related focus areas and formed working groups tasked to develop and implement action plans to remove the common barriers to reentry.
The Project’s priority areas for 2017 include:
- Reentry Planning. Barriers to reentry sit with both those who are incarcerated and the system designed to assist them as they integrate back into society. The Project will provide programming to men and women while incarcerated to assist in creating individualized “reentry plans” that will guide men and women upon release. These plans aim to help individuals successfully gain access to housing, employment, health benefits, legal services, and reunite with their families after release.
- Child Support. Employment is one of the top predictors of an individual’s successful reentry, and child support payments and other debts can derail employment. The Project will provide legal services and assistance to individuals and families to resolve barriers related to child support debt. The Project will also advocate for policy change to promote appropriate modification of child support orders for noncustodial parents while incarcerated.
- Access to Driver’s Licenses. Access to government-issued identification documents is critical to successful reentry. Without such documentation, men and women leaving correctional facilities face extreme challenges; a driver’s license is often a prerequisite for a job or a necessity to reach a job site. The Project will provide legal services and assistance to individuals to resolve barriers related to drivers licenses revocation and suspension. The Project will also advocate for policy change surrounding drivers’ licenses.
The Collaborative Justice Project has seen results in Minnesota, and plans to broaden the impact of this important work to include other jurisdictions and areas of focus. Through the work of this program, we plan to develop strategies that will inform similar efforts in other communities around the country, with a special emphasis on access to justice and social justice issues.
To support this initiative, or contribute your time and expertise, please contact PBI President and CEO Eve Runyon.