By Chidi Umez, CSG Justice Center
The Connection Inc., a Connecticut-based nonprofit organization, was one of five organizations in the country to receive the 2016 Outstanding Criminal Justice Program Award from the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) for its Re-Entry Assisted Community Housing (REACH) and Re-Entry Assisted Community Housing and Mentoring (REACH-M) programs. According to NCJA, these awards are an opportunity to honor innovative criminal justice programs with proven effectiveness.
The REACH program seeks to reduce recidivism by offering transitional housing and case management services to people returning to their communities from incarceration. REACH currently provides temporary housing to men and women ages 18 and above who are on parole or probation in various towns and cities in Connecticut. Clients are referred to REACH through the State of Connecticut Department of Correction and the Court Support Services Division of the state’s judicial branch. Program clients work with a REACH case manager to develop an individualized reentry and treatment plan, which includes goals such as finding stable housing, gaining employment, and reestablishing natural supports in their community.
The Connection received a 2014 Second Chance Act grant to support REACH-M, a pilot randomized control trial that incorporates peer mentors who provide pre- and post-release support to clients. Peer mentors use their own experiences of incarceration and successful reentry to work with REACH case managers and help clients develop reentry and treatment plans.
Learn more about The Connection Inc. REACH-M program in the CSG Justice Center publication Mentoring as a Component of Reentry: Practical Considerations from the Field, coming later this fall.