The Boston Release Network is a volunteer program that was created to improve Public Safety by assisting registrants during their transition from the prison system back into the community. Studies have shown that providing a strong support network during this difficult time greatly reduces the recidivism rate of released offenders and facilitates their progress towards, once again, becoming productive members of society.
The Boston Release Network currently has several programs in place to work with released persons both before and after their release from confinement They include:
THE PEER MENTORING PROGRAM: The Boston Release Network matches incarcerated inmates with persons that have been released from the prison system, and who have successfully transitioned back into society, to help them build a strong support system and develop a comprehensive release plan. Upon their release, the support person(s) will generally be available to pick up the person from the prison and help them through the registering and shelter check in ordeal. In the following days, the support team will assist with: obtaining Massachusetts identification; signing up for food stamps, social security and treatment; as well as showing where and how to obtain the various services available to the newly released person.
THE FUND-A-PHONE PROGRAM: The Boston Release Network attempts to provide a “smart phone” to each person being released from the prison system. We will activate a donated phone and cover, up to, the first six (6) months of service The cost of this service is generally $190.00 – $240.00, depending whether or not a donated phone is available at the release time. This allows our clients to maintain contact with their support network and family as well as set up the various appointments they will have to make in the coming weeks/months. We have found that many of our newly released clients have been incarcerated for extended periods of time and have little or no current knowledge of the Boston area, so a smart phone allows them to utilize the Google Maps function on the phone to locate and map a route to their appointments. During the six month period, the client is encouraged to sign up with other programs that will continue to help him cover the $30.00 monthly service bill.
THE CHARLIE CARD PROGRAM: The The Boston Release Network attempts to provide a monthly Charlie Card to each of our clients upon their release. The cost of this service is generally $84.50 per month. This allows the client to get to their required appointments: parole/probation; registration; therapy; AA/NA; etc. which are located throughout the city. It also allows them to access the various programs and services that will facilitate their reentry into the community such as education, job/resume training, medical appointments, etc.
RELEASE PACK PROGRAM: The Boston Release Network attempts to provide a secure, durable, waterproof backpack to each of our clients upon their release. The cost of this service is generally $75.00 per client. These packs contain items necessary for a smooth transition to shelter life, i.e.: toiletries, underwear and socks, shower shoes, and a padlock so our clients can safely secure their belongings while in the shelter. The ability to keep their belongings dry and secure is a major factor in reducing the stress associated with homelessness.
COMPENSATED EDUCATION PROGRAM: The Boston Release Network attempts to provide compensation to our clients that choose to attend approved reintegration classes provided by organizations with whom we have developed working relationships.