Most justice-involved citizens will return to a community very different from the one they left, but VSC is there to prepare them to rejoin the world – facilitating communication with families, attorneys, and therapists while they are incarcerated and, after release, connecting them to critical programs and services. And the needs are great: job training, mental health support from felon-friendly organizations, substance abuse and chronic disease treatment and, of course, secure housing to facilitate a smooth transition. After release, clients can drop by to use the office phone and internet, pick up bus tokens, find shelter, have a grilled cheese sandwich, or get funds to secure a birth certificate. Maintaining family ties and creating positive relationships with the community means justice-involved citizens are better prepared for their release into the world we all share - to raise their children, to work, to live.
VSC has pivoted from working inside the DC Jail and BOP facilities to creating virtual platforms and community engagement activities that address the complex needs of incarcerated clients and those returning on “compassionate release.” Education and support groups have become bi-monthly zoom meetings to create a space of safety. In addition, the reentry team conducts case management and reentry services on-site (under strict safety guidelines) and on virtual platforms to facilitate counseling and check-ins. Phone calls support clients' progress in achieving goals and staying on track with their reintegration into the community.