Welcoming Citizens from Prison Back into the Community
The Memphis Shelby County Office of Reentry (MSCOR) evolved into a “one stop shop” to coordinate access to empowering resources for returning citizens.
In 2013, with support from the Assisi Foundation of Memphis, Consilience Group (CG) facilitated a yearlong engagement process to improve the success of people returning from prison. State and local political leaders, law enforcement and prison officials, reentry service providers and returning citizens collaborated in creating a comprehensive roadmap to improve support for people reentering the community. Plan pillars called for streamlined reentry planning and resources, more opportunities for training and employment and improved policy advocacy. Implementation strategies were centered around the concept for a single physical location, or HUB, where city, county, and state agencies would collaborate to coordinate reentry services from community providers. The vision that became today’s Memphis Shelby County Office of Reentry (MSCOR) “HUB” was born.
Prior to 2014, MSCOR existed, but as a “pilot” direct provider of reentry services. To achieve the community vision, MSCOR needed a business and operations plan to change its role from service provider to service coordinator and reentry advocate. With continued support from the Assisi Foundation, CG worked with leadership and staff at MSCOR and the Shelby County Division of Corrections to mobilize government leaders, employees and partner organizations in redesigning MSCOR’s governance and operational structures as a true reentry HUB.
MSCOR’s new approach has dramatically increased its ability to impact returning citizens’ success. In its first year of operations, it quadrupled the number of people served, and significantly grew its formal provider resource network. On-site, “one-stop-shop” services are now in place for GED classes from Hopeworks, medical services from Baptist Memorial Hospital/Christ Community Health Services, and connections through the Workforce Investment Network (WIN) and the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce (GMACW) to create employment opportunities for returning citizens. MSCOR now works with prison staff and inmates statewide to connect Shelby County residents to MSCOR services upon their return. Finally, new tools are in place to collect usable data to better support the seamless flow of resources, and to make data-driven decisions for efficiency and effectiveness.