WHAT WE DO
Voices for a Second Chance (VSC) offers comprehensive services to each of the approximately 11,000 individuals who are processed through the D.C. correctional system annually that need our assistance, as well as post-release from D.C. Jail, District residents returning from the Bureau of Prison (BOP) facilities, and those returning from BOP facilities that are temporarily detained in community corrections (also known as ‘halfway houses') before release. These individuals are often living on the margins of society: poor, lacking education, and without access to jobs, housing and health care. Their incarceration puts an additional and serious strain not only on their own economic mobility/opportunity, but on their families as well. Their needs fall into general categories, but each person requires individualized care and strategic support services in order to succeed with their reentry.
Bridging the Gap from Incarceration to the Community: Ensures a Strong Return Home
First Responder Services
Outreach and Direct Supportive Services in Jails and Prisons
VSC First Responder Services provide individuals comfort knowing help is near and available during incarceration. It is having valuables stored safely. Or it could be notifying loved ones of their detainment as well as alerting an employer or landlord of circumstances. Or sending a message of hope and care with a greeting card or a phone call to stay connected to children and family. Or the assurance of having a trusted counselor to seek guidance and direction. VSC is a necessary and calming extension of community to many incarcerated individuals. For many, they are the consequence - of poverty, crime, homelessness, hunger, and unemployment - the desolation of ignored communities. For many incarcerated individuals, VSC is the pulse to the outside world and their families. For others, VSC is the adhesive that maintains relationships with family and community. Through our services and programs, we work in partnership with individuals to design a plan that garners hope and vision for a successful reintegration.
Please watch our video to the right for an overview of our first responder services as explained by our program director, Margot Kirkland-Isaac, to the University of Maryland student body during a fundraiser held by UMD for VSC.
The Welcome Home CenteR
Voices for a Second Chance (VSC) provides comprehensive community-based resources to justice-involved persons transitioning back to their communities from the DC Department of Corrections Central Treatment Facility (CTF) and the Central Detention Facility (CDF), as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP), and those under CSOSA and Pretrial community supervision. VSC provides a navigational program which utilizes citywide outreach to identify and address the needs of justice-involved individuals within the District who are trying to live productively within their communities. VSC is particularly concerned for those individuals within this population who present with chronic illness, mental health and/or substance abuse, and lack of a solid support system. VSC also offers a wide variety of services to help individuals with re-entry, including:
Individual & support group counseling
Vital records: birth certificates, identifications, and police clearances
Limited-time use of address to receive mail
Clothing and toiletries
Referrals for housing, employment, education, training, substance abuse, and mental health treatments
Voter registration application
A VSC client and advocate speaking on the rights of returning citizens
COMMUNITy Of Voices
Sustainable Bridges to Actualization
VSC works to identify and provide the vital resources and educational spaces for our clients. We work to integrate our lives with our clients' and their families' to be part of a supportive network to help them navigate their new normal: life after incarceration. As we advocate for their basic needs, we also provide them the tools they need to be more self-reliant. It is important to us for them to elevate and mobilize their voices to better advocate for themselves both during the crucial initial transition period from incarceration, and well beyond it.
A VSC Healthy Lifestyle Education support group
Children of incarcerated parents support group