Supporting the JUMPSTART of New Lives in Prison
For many of the 1.2 million people in the U.S. prison system, thinking of life outside of prison can be intimidating. The unemployment rate for formerly incarcerated individuals is nearly five times as high as the general population, and people face additional challenges securing housing and transportation upon release. As many as two out of three people are re-arrested once they are released; of those people, more than 50 percent go back to jail.
At JBM, we are committed to helping the justice-involved population find employment through our Fair Chance program. Since 2016, we’ve provided job skills, career opportunities and support services to better equip people with the tools they need to start a new life after incarceration. As we live our purpose of creating better lives, this strengthens our communities by helping reduce recidivism rates.
While our Fair Chance program primarily focuses on supporting lives after prison, we also believe in helping transform the lives of people while they are still in prison. In addition to providing workers with transferrable job skills, we partner with organizations that support rehabilitation. An example is JUMPSTART, a non-profit organization that works to transform the lives of people in prison from the inside out. To prepare participants for re-entry, this 40-week character-building program focuses on character formation, community building, service to others, living with purpose and preparation for re-entry. Working alongside their peers, participants are encouraged to be vulnerable and break down personal barriers while beginning to imagine their new life outside of prison.
The JUMPSTART Program gives people an opportunity to transform their lives during incarceration
What makes it unique is that JUMPSTART was designed by people who experienced incarceration and wanted to break the cycle of recidivism in their community. And the results have been staggering: In South Carolina, where JUMPSTART began in 2008, 6,000 people have participated in the program, with 4,500 graduates. More than 96 percent of graduates have remained out of prison.
JUMPSTART Takes Root in Ohio
After seeing the success of the JUMPSTART Program in South Carolina, JBM helped bring the program to Ohio. JBM President and CEO Marcus Sheanshang led the search for an executive who would lead the non-profit locally, ultimately selecting Brian Moll as the Executive Director. Moll had recently returned from New York City where he served as the Executive Director for the Rescue Alliance, a collaboration of faith-based organizations working together to restore the well-being of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. Prior to the Rescue Alliance, he worked with formerly incarcerated populations to help them learn entrepreneurial skills.
More than 96 percent of JUMPSTART graduates remain out of prison.
“After we met Brian, we knew he was the right person to bring JUMPSTART to Ohio,” said Sheanshang. “In addition to his experience leading a non-profit, Brian is passionate about transforming lives and understands how to unite different groups with a shared interest to get things done.”
In addition to Moll, Russ Doyle was hired as the JUMPSTART Director of Development. Doyle has extensive non-profit development experience, and the two have been working to increase adoption of the program throughout the Ohio Correctional system since their appointment. In addition to growing the program’s footprint, they are working to build relationships and synergies with local service groups and businesses like JBM that want to support JUMPSTART graduates with employment opportunities. JUMPSTART Ohio graduated its first class in November 2022 from the Dayton Correctional Institution and has more than 100 individuals registered for future courses.
“We’ve had incredible success with JUMPSTART in Ohio, and we’re looking forward to working with more correctional systems and businesses to support its growth,” said Moll.
JUMPSTART Ohio graduated its first class in Nov. 22 from the Dayton Correctional Institute
As JUMPSTART looks to increase its reach, it’s seeking additional support. From financial donations to volunteering, advocacy to providing support services, here are a few different ways that employers can assist with JUMPSTART’s incredible work:
— Make a donation: A $125 gift supports one participant through the 40-week JUMPSTART program.
— Provide career or life-skills instruction: Help participants learn basic skills like developing a resume and interviewing. We’re also looking for people who can teach classes that offer JUMPSTART participants tips for budgeting and other life skills.
— Donate to their Dignity Duffle Program: Support individuals preparing for release by helping to provide basic necessities, like clothes, shoes and toiletries.
— Serve as a mentor: Help a recently released graduate navigate life on the outside by touching base in person or by phone.
— Help us spread the word: We constantly seek audiences to share our story. Let us know if your business, church or civic group would like to learn more about ways to support JUMPSTART!
JUMPSTART will host a Community Impact Breakfast on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 8:30 a.m. Jeffrey Korzenik, Chief Economist for 5/3 Bank and award-winning author of Untapped Talent: How Second Chance Hiring Works for Your Business and the Community. For more information, connect with the JUMPSTART team today!