Helping Individuals to remain out of prison in Georgia since 1995
From the Report of the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform, January 2014:
“Between 1990 and 2011, Georgia’s prison population more than doubled to nearly 56,000 inmates. State spending on corrections soared as well, from $492 million to more than $1 billion annually. Despite this substantial investment, Georgia’s 30% recidivism rate had remained virtually unchanged for a decade.”
Five-year projections forecast additional growth in the incarcerated population and another $264 million in prison costs.
Breaking the cycle of people returning to prison is becoming a major priority of the criminal justice system. Sadly, the criminal justice system here in Georgia is designed to house people but does not yet know how to keep too many of them from returning. Some even say that prison is a “school for crime” that hardens those sent to serve time. When those individuals are released, (returning citizens) they are faced with the added burden of over close to a 1,000 GA state laws that make it harder for them to find employment and a place to live and that further contributes to the regrettable cycle of prison-crime-prison-crime-prison.,
Despite extensive national attention to refining prisoner reentry approaches over the past decade, in most states the return-to-prison recidivism rates of former prisoners have not changed substantially. Such is the case in Georgia.
While there is a big need for what is known as recidivism reduction, not enough programs exist in Georgia to do this very difficult yet necessary work. We end up with costly prison systems and communities that are less safe than they could be.
Returning Citizen Dilemma
While there are plans to release many prisoners in the coming year, few resources have been forthcoming from the government who has said that they will be depending on not for profit organizations to assist the “returning citizen” to become an upstanding member of their local community..
How We Got Started
This is why Uplifting People, Inc was incorporated in Georgia in 1995. Uplifting People (UP) is a 501-C (3) Not for Profit Corporation based in Georgia whose mission is: HELPING INDIVIDUALS TO REMAIN OUT OF PRISON!
Uplifting people wants to help fill this gap in the justice re-entry system by offering housing and career training to individuals released from Georgia’s prisons. When individuals are released from prison after a five, ten, fifteen or twenty plus year incarceration, they find a society which has changed a great deal since they were last a part of it. In order to be valued by themselves and their communities, new and updated skills and outlooks will need to be acquired to allow them to compete with those who have been in society without interruption. UP believes that a returning citizen needs to have a dedicated mentor to assist in the journey from prison to full participation in society. By matching a dedicated elder mentor who has the wisdom and experience and respect of the returning citizen, new paths open that lead to successful re-entry into community.
Where We Are Now
Uplifting People is planning to create group housing so that released individuals can be relieved of the very difficult problem of finding housing when first released. This housing also will provide space for educating people who have been out of their communities for many years, so that they can find ways to succeed as law abiding citizens
Uplifting People will partner with small business owners/tradesmen i.e. electricians, plumbers, carpenters, brick masons, painters, mechanics, etc… who can offer our clients the opportunity to apprentice or serve in an internship position in order to provide the experience individuals need to be marketable in their chosen fields. Uplifting People’s re-entry program will provide businesses with highly motivated individuals who will help their businesses to prosper.
We need the financial support of those in the Georgia community who agree that we need Uplifting People, Inc. to succeed so that their communities can be safer and healthier places for them, their families and neighbors to live and work.
We appreciate your consideration and hope to include you as a supporter as we work to uplift people!