Walking away from prison and successfully returning to families and communities is just the first step in re-starting a former felon's life. Most are faced with overwhelming challenges ranging from finding employment and securing housing to paying restitution or fines, and developing and restoring relationships. Central to all of that, and too often overlooked, is developing and sustaining self-confidence and a positive outlook.
Many inmates have limited access to computers while they are incarcerated; the majority have no access at all. None are able to use the internet or email. Imagine how difficult it must be to jump from the isolation of prison into today's often overwhelming, yet essential, electronic world?
Fair Shake offers former felons a free virtual office that can be accessed from any computer. In addition to email, data storage and a personal resource directory, members can create a personal web page to use as supplement to employment or housing applications. Instructional tutorials are also available.
What's more, the website is loaded with information for all stakeholders: Former Felons; Families and Friends; Employers; Property Managers; Community and Corrections. Many features are available to all visitors, such as the nationwide "Resource Directory" (with over 9,200 entries!), the "Custom Reentry Packet", and the personal "Ownership Manual".
On our "Welcome Center" visitors can view a quick slide-show tour of the website as well as information for specific areas of interest, from getting back to work to positive ways to get involved in reentry and community building. To find news, facts, statistics, and a multi-media page with stories about reentry, visit our detailed "Information Center".
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over 1,600,000 people are currently serving a prison sentence. More than 95% of them will eventually be released. Sadly, 7 out of 10 of those who come home will return to prison, often because of a lack of opportunity and support. In most cases this is an avoidable tragedy for the inmate and an unnecessary burden to the taxpayer. Through the kind of practical support and opportunity provided by Fair Shake we can reduce the high cost of criminal justice while preserving community safety by supporting the successful transition from prison to life in society.