The incarcerated population has reached a staggering level in the U.S., and the environment these men and women inhabit offers little in the way of rehabilitation.
Through retreats, mentorship, education opportunities, and employment assistance, Thrive for Life provides accompaniment and consolation on the inside, and then the means to re-enter society and meaningfully contribute to the community once an individual is released.
In The News
Finding Light in Dark Places
Walter’s seven months in prison began and ended with a prayer. He had moved to New York from his home country a year after graduating college and had held a corporate job for 15 years. But by winter several years ago, Walter was 35 and had lost his job and even his apartment to addiction. Living homeless, on a January night, high and with nowhere left to go, he wandered into a church. “When you’re in addict mode,” Walter would later say, “your spiritual life is non-existent.” Yet he prayed that night, for the first time in so long. Several hours later, he had handcuffs around his wrists.
Releasing Hearts from Behind Bars
They committed crimes—and they are paying the price. More than two million Americans, mostly men, and disproportionately men of color, are serving time behind bars—many for decades. Regardless of their offenses, these are people whom God does not want to lose. But, unfortunately, as they sit idle in their cells, their minds tend to focus on their confinement, their transgressions, their hopelessness, and the awful sense that God and society couldn’t possibly forgive them or want them back.
Why We're Taking Action
Percentage of inmates with access to college classes in NYS
New York State Bar Association Special Committee on Re-Entry, January 2016.
Percentage of parolees who are returning to NYC from state prison are re-arrested within 3 years
Recidivism among Parolees in New York City – Center for Court Innovation, November 2011.
Percentage of people released from city jails each year into homelessness or unstable housing
Preventing Homelessness Among People Leaving Prison -- Vera Institute of Justice, December 2003
What We're Working On Now
A house of studies for formerly incarcerated individuals. Ignacio House will provide three interdependent support services for ex-offenders who have completed high school and/or have started college courses while incarcerated: housing, college education opportunities, and employment.
Thrive for Life has strategically grounded Ignacio House programming on the successful 20-year history of the Cristo Rey Network’s secondary school paradigm, which combines an extraordinary education with corporate work experience. Initial partnership in the Ignacio House program include local empoyers (for employment opportunities) and Manhattan College – which has experience providing college courses within detention facilities.
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