Funded by the state’s Department of Labor and located in Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, Connecticut, STRIDE serves pre- and post-release prisoners from four Connecticut correctional facilities, including the state’s only female prison.
The name STRIDE stands for:
and is an apt description of the characteristics and abilities STRIDE seeks to instill in its program participants.
Recently, Robert Hebert, one of the job developers at STRIDE was interviewed for Fox 61 Connecticut’s “The Real Story” segment and described why the STRIDE program was so successful.
Those who graduated from the STRIDE program had a recidivism rate of 9%, compared to the overall recidivism rate of 40% in Connecticut, which saved the state $2.1 million dollars from 2011-2012, the latest fiscal year reported. But saving money is not the only way the program is successful. It saves lives, too. The majority of participants become productive members of society instead of going back to prison.
The innovative STRIDE program begins with members of the organization visiting the prisoners and the introduction of a 10-week course that includes not only a job readiness curriculum, but also has classes on fatherhood and motherhood. When a program participant is released he or she is immediately connected with one of STRIDE’s job developer who works with employers to hire reintegrating community members. The majority of employers who hire STRIDE program participants are pleased and some add other STRIDE clients to work in their businesses. Instilling a sense of confidence in being employable is crucial to reentering citizens.
Speaking to Reentry Central Hebert said that the criteria to become a participant in the STRIDE program is minimal. Participants must be a formerly incarcerated person connected to a state social service program and the parent of a child aged 25 years or younger. The focus is on helping the newly released prisoner and his or her family thrive.
Once a program participant finds employment the connection between the formerly incarcerated person and the STRIDE job developers doesn’t just end there. Many clients develop a rapport with STRIDE staff and continue to stay in touch after they find employment.
Watch “The Real Story” video to learn more on how one program is helping formerly incarcerated people beat the odds against going back to prison here.