Moving Forward: A Prison Group That Recognizes the Pitfalls of Former Foster Youths and Seeks to Inspire Them to Achieve Successful Reintegration
Date:  05-21-2015

Research shows that young men in foster care are more likely to commit a crime than those who are not
Scott Hampton told Reentry Central “There is one thing a person in prison has a whole lot of, and that is time. It goes without saying that how a person who is incarcerated chooses to spend his or her time will determine how well he or she will do on the outside of prison walls when released.”

At the Mansfield Correctional Institution (MCI) in Mansfield, Ohio there is a new group that has been formed to help address the particular needs of former foster youths who now find themselves incarcerated. The goal of this group is to provide these men with the tools they need to stay out of prison once they are released. What makes the group MOVING FORWARD notable is that it was founded by Scott Hampton, who was placed in numerous foster homes as a minor, and is now incarcerated at MCI. MOVING FORWARD has support of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections (ODRC) which recognizes that youths who were formerly in foster care have unique issues that are not shared by others in the prison population. The ODRC deserves kudos for supporting an effort to reduce recidivism among this group.

In a message to Reentry Central Hampton related, “After watching a few documentaries on PBS and doing a little research on prisons in the country who have programs for former foster youth I, under the supervision of Unit Manager Mr. Michaels, began the process of forming a group for the "Meaningful Pod Activity,” component of prison approved groups or activiies.

Hampton went on to state, “The purpose of MOVING FORWARD is to reduce incarceration, homelessness and substance abuse among former foster youth and provide any support available from the current institution. The goal of MOVING FORWARD is to assist in making the transition from incarcerated person, to a productive, self-sufficient member of a community.”

Hampton provided Reentry Central with the following information concerning justice-involved former foster youth:

“Longitudinal studies on the fate of adults who went through the foster care system, graphically point out the need for inmate groups such as MOVING FORWARD. In 2005, the Midwest Study at the University of Chicago reported that 30% of the youth who were in foster care had experienced incarceration by age 19; one fourth of former fosters had been homeless; 40% were on public assistance; and half were unemployed. Most recently, in May of 2010, researchers at the same University and the University of Washington found that nearly 60% of young men who had been in foster care had been convicted of a crime, compared with 10% of young men who had never been in care.”

Joe Williams, a writer for the Mansfield Voice explained more about the group, “Already forty people incarcerated at MCI have signed up for MOVING FORWARD which is scheduled to start in a few weeks. The curriculum will be delivered in a group setting through peer experience and will explore self-worth, mutual respect, belonging, social skills, life skills, and other important rehabilitative tools. The mission of MOVING FORWARD is to improve the lives of former foster youth with guidance, encouragement, inspiration and education. The recognition that people who are incarcerated and have a foster care history may require programs that are tailored to their particular experiences and needs is a productive first step to their self-sufficiency and success. MOVING FORWARD can fill this need. In pursuit of their mission, MOVING FORWARD strives for the highest standards of integrity and professionalism."

Reentry Central would like to thank Scott Hampton and Joe Williams for providing us with information about MOVING FORWARD. Efforts by Reentry Central to reach staff members of MCI for comments were unsuccessful.

Hampton can be contacted at:

Scott Hampton

#A476182

P.O Box 788

Mansfield, Ohio, 44901