Journey Home

In 2003, 66% of ex-offenders in Dane County returned to prison within two years. In 2005, following the launch of Journey Home, that rate dropped to 21%. The cycle of recidivism can end by empowering ex-offenders with the resources they need to successfully reintegrate with their families and our community.

By mobilizing the community, volunteers, local leaders, businesses, government and nonprofit agencies, we will reduce the return to prison rate, ensuring Dane County remains a safe, educated and healthy place to live. We call this model Journey Home.

Elements of Journey Home

There are four key elements to the Journey Home program: Residency, Employment, Support and Treatment (REST). Resource Specialists provide intensive one-on-one assistance to participants, and monthly service fairs offer participants a one-point access to the REST services that are critical to their success.

Everyone needs a place to live but most ex-offenders struggle to find a permanent home. Since 2006 we have found housing for 102 individuals by working with apartment associations and landlords.

Finding employment is challenging for many people in our economic climate. It is even more difficult if you are an ex-offender. Despite these barriers, Journey Home has found employment for 262 ex-offenders since 2006.

Journey Home participants benefit from mentors and support groups to keep them on the right track. Our Circle of Support program links five to seven volunteers with one ex-offender to help them make positive life choices upon their release. Voices Beyond Bars is a volunteer opportunity for ex-offenders to mentor and empower other ex-offenders before and after they are released from prison.

About 80% of individuals in prison suffer from mental health or addiction issues. Our Resource Specialists work closely with community agencies to identify mental health and AODA resources for ex-offenders. Since we began this initiative, we have linked 261 ex-offenders to support and treatment services.

Journey Home is also cost-effective. Compare the cost of this program – $500 per person – to $38,000 – the per year cost of prison.

To find out how you can help ex-offenders reintegrate effectively into our community, contact the United Way Volunteer Center.

If you’d like to support Journey Home and other initiatives that change lives in our community, click here to contribute to our campaign.