St. Louis City Jail reentry program provides hands-on services, promotes success

St. Louis City Jail reentry program provides hands-on services, promotes success

(L-R) Jerome Fields, Brandy Morrow, Denise Rainey, Christian Cooper, Alice Elder, Kamina Ballard, Superintendent Leonard Edwards, Erik Garcia

The “Agency Forward 101” (AF101) program within the St. Louis City Jail system in Missouri was designed to offer hands-on pre-release services for incarcerated individuals approaching discharge. The mission of the program is provide internal support and resources, in order to enhance personal development and confidence while increasing self-awareness and accountability for those leaving incarceration—in the hopes that they will be successful in their reentry and become effective agents for change in their communities.

The pilot for the AF101 program was held in the St. Louis City Jail Medium Security Institution with a total of 24 participants, all of whom were pre-screened and on the discharge roster. Program participants were placed in a classroom with four community agencies that provided specific resources commonly needed by inmates upon their release. Such resources commonly include medication, free identification, linkage to a primary care physician (PCP) or clinic, health insurance and specialty care for infectious diseases. Upon arrival, participants were also given an “Exit Passport,” which they used to collect contact information from each community booth. Passports also include the most current contact information for the individual, a page for addresses, a notes page, resource card slots, a Corizon Health reentry resource link and a bus ticket. Upon their actual release, individuals are given their passport in order to take proper steps toward their successful reentry. In the words of Deepak Chopra, we hope that “together we can help create a peaceful, just, sustainable and healthy world.”