Congressman Jim Moran visited the OAR offices in September to see first hand the after-hours educational program that he helped fund through an earmark he sponsored for the program.
With this funding, OAR partnered with EdOptions, an educational software company, and the Arlington Sheriff’s Department to use a unique, innovative on-line GED preparation program for OAR clients who do not have their high school diploma or GED.
The Post Release Education Program (PREP) currently has 70 clients. Only 3 have reoffended in the past 6 month, a 4.4% recidivism rate. The national recidivism rate is 50% for the first year.
All clients who are screened for the program are provided an individual road map and a personal timeline based on the highest level of education they received, how comfortable they are using a computer, how long they have been out of school, and their hourly commitment per week. Other clients come for OAR Life Skills courses: Anger Management, Computer Skills, Literacy, and Employability/Job Readiness. Classes and tutoring take place in the evenings, Monday through Friday, from 6 to 10 p.m., and Saturday mornings, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
“We know that education is the key to helping men and women stay out of incarceration,” said Gail Arnall, OAR Executive Director. “This program shows that when offenders are engaged in learning, when they see that they can reach educational goals and have tutors on the journey with them, they can stay out of trouble with the law.”
One in 31 individuals in the United States is incarcerated, on probation, or parole. OAR was founded to help non-violent ex-offenders acclimate back into society following time served. In FY09, OAR served 2,332 individuals facilitating life skills courses, obtaining employment, assisting with shelter, and helping men and women successfully return to the community.
The success of OAR’s Education Program is a testimony to the contributions of the many dedicated volunteers. Since the inception of the program in January 2009, 31 volunteers have contributed 566 hours to the Post-Incarceration Education Program. The importance of OAR volunteers was recognized when OAR received the Spirit of Service $10,000 Grant at the 2009 Greater DC Cares Business and Non-Profit Philanthropy Summit June 16, 2009, presented by Deloitte LLC.
The Sun Gazette covered Rep. James Moran’ visit to OAR. To read their full article please follow the link http://www.sungazette.net/articles/2009/10/03/arlington/news/nw405.prt
Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR), a community-based restorative justice non-profit in Arlington, VA, has provided assistance to men and women coming out of incarceration since 1974. OAR provides life skill classes and reentry orientations for offenders inside the Arlington and Alexandria Detention Centers, and then assists these and other ex-offenders who come back to live in Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church, VA. They also assist family members of those incarcerated.
If you are interested in volunteering with OAR, please contact Rachel Sparico firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 703-228-7031.