HOW WE'RE DIFFERENT:
'Wrap-around services’ ‘One Stop Shop’ -- These are just a few of the terms out there used by organizations to imply that an individual reentering the community from prison simply has to go to one place and receive all of the services they could possibly need to make their reentry successful.
While we at FREE know that the services that these providers offer are well-intentioned and do indeed provide much-needed assistance, our idea is different.
When our founder Dylan Hood started to research reentry, he had one simple question- how can everything a person needs to reenter successfully be put into one neat box that is easily accessible? What if, at the push of a button, a person reentering the community could have access to resources and a mentor to help them through the day-to-day trials of returning? What if all of this could be put into a convenient, manageable package?
Through this idea, the Get Help App™ was created.
FREE’s Get Help App Phone Program has created a new way to deliver 24/7 support to individuals exiting the criminal justice system. Our application is simple and can be uploaded to any iOS or Android phone. With the app, a person has only to chose between speaking with a live mentor or contacting the referral resource help desk. All of our mentors are formerly incarcerated individuals who have been specially trained through our mentor training modules created by Dr. Elena Quintana, Executive Director of Adler University’s Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice, specifically for the populations we work with. Our mentors undergo a rigorous vetting process to assure that they have a passion for our cause as well as a proven track-record of successful reentry. Our mentors will be paid a living wage and provided with insurance as well as other incentivizing perks.
Our referral resource hotline will be the most current data base of resources available in our service areas. We have teams of interns that vet every resource and community provider to ensure their validity; only then are they allowed to become a community partner and a resource. Our referral resource operators will be completely different from our mentors, most coming from a social work background.
All new program participants will undergo an initial assessment taken by our referral resource operators. They will also receive help completing a job application, which we will retain on file and have available to forward (at the request of the participant) to the 200+ firms which are known to be felon-friendly
We have also taken the same general concept for the Get Help App and created an application for Veterans with criminal justice involvement, called Vet Help. All of the same central principles apply, except that all of the mentors for this program are veterans and all of the resources, in addition to being the standard resources available with Get Help, are now also resources that are Veteran specific.
We are very excited about the program initiatives in place at FREE. Our method for delivering mentoring and services to previously incarcerated people at the touch of a button is a truly unique approach that is not being pursued by anyone else at this time. We are confident that this pioneering idea can lead the way in serving our previously incarcerated population, and ultimately in reducing recidivism.