Reentry Mentorship Program
“Crime is a violation of people and relationships. It creates obligations to make things right. Justice involves the victim, the offender, and the community in a search for solutions which promote repair, reconciliation, and reassurance.”
~ Howard Zehr
Each year, approximately 12,000 people are booked into our county jail: Eventually, almost all of those offenders will be released back into our communities. Our mission is to benefit the community by reducing crime and lowering recidivism rates. This makes for a safer, healthier community while also saving taxpayer dollars.
One of the best things that can happen to an incarcerated person upon release is to have a friend or confidant to help with simple things; it is nice to have a friend to attend the Thursday night Farmer's Market, to take a walk on the beach or a hike, to have a mentor who is there to listen without judgement.
One of the best things that can happen to them is you!
It’s surprising how much having a regular mentor can help someone stay on the path to success. All you have to do as a mentor are the things that you already like to do. We’ll pair you up with someone who has similar interests, such as fishing, hiking, church, or recovery. If you have one hour a week to spare, you can experience the satisfaction of being there with someone when they need it most.
What are the requirements to be a mentor?
Men and women over 21 years of age can be a mentor, including people with criminal histories. We seek mentors who are consistent, persistent, and dependable.
Becoming a mentor requires:
• Completing the application process, which includes attending the two new mentor orientations
• Being able to offer caring and compassionate support to people who have been recently incarcerated
• Being available to get together with your mentee a minimum of four to six hours each month
If you want to talk with someone about whether being a mentor is right for you, please call Victoria at (805) 242 -1272 ext. 92, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you still have questions, see below for more information on being a mentor.
Do I have to have “been there” in jail to be a good mentor?
Many of our mentors haven’t spent time in prison or jail, yet are still great mentors. In the Reentry Mentorship Program we focus on what we have in common rather than what makes us different. The important thing is to be interested in supporting someone who has been incarcerated to transition back into their community.
Will I get trained in how to be a good mentor?
There are two evening mandatory training orientations to become a mentor. We also host monthly mentor support groups; topics may include trauma and criminality, parole and probation, drug and alcohol treatment, or child welfare.
What kind of activities can I do with my mentee?
Considering the natural beauty of where we live, outdoor activities are an easy option. We also will provide you with an activity guide which lists recreational ideas for all tastes. For example, you might also like to go bowling, skating, rock climbing, biking, or see a Blues baseball game! But mostly, you can be a great mentor just by spending time with your mentee doing the things you both enjoy. You and your mentee will decide when and where you spend time together doing what you both enjoy. We have lots of suggestions to have fun at a low cost!
Does it really make a difference if I mentor someone coming out of jail?
Yes! Mentorship is one of the secret ingredients to reducing recidivism. Statistics and our own experience shows us that mentorship works!