As a part of our “Downstream” efforts, OAR is on a journey with individuals who are currently experiencing incarceration and those on the journey home from incarceration. Individuals with the wisdom and insight of shared experiences lead supportive programs in our local detention facilities in Arlington and Alexandria.
OAR’s pre-release programs include: evidence-based cognitive-behavioral, fatherhood, individual and group psychotherapy programs as well as vocational, educational, personal development, transition planning, and reentry readiness programs. Post-release, OAR’s Reentry Program has become a welcoming, warm, and loving community. OAR provides individualized coaching and assistance with transition, employment, housing, cell phones with minutes and data plans, laptops with internet access, clothing, food, and more, to individuals and their families while they secure a safe reentry back into the community for themselves. OAR also offers a comprehensive Employment Program, which assists with resume building, vocational skills assessments, mock interviews, job searches and connections, and more.
The OAR Collective believes that participants are experts on themselves and the agenda in all circumstances is to empower participants toward the goal of self-sufficiency and liberation. We support individuals of all genders through major life transitions directly or indirectly related to the individual’s criminal justice status or history. Eligibility for these services is contingent on a conviction record and certain residency requirements.
Individuals have different needs and each eligible participant works with the team to develop an individualized plan that may include assistance with emergency shelter, transportation, clothing, food, identification, medication, mental health, medical care, and a wide range of social service referrals are provided. To be eligible for post-release services, individuals must be referred to OAR within 90 days of release from incarceration.
Walk-In Business Hours
Monday – Friday | 10:30am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-3:00pm
In FY21 OAR launched a pilot Gender-Responsive Services program supporting individuals identifying as women that are impacted by the criminal legal system on their reentry journey after experiencing incarceration through tailored, culturally-appropriate, and trauma-informed services. Individuals who identify as female have a different set of needs and different reentry experiences from those who identify as male. For example, the majority of women who experience incarceration are primary caregivers to minor children and a crucial part of the re-entry process requires supporting their needs as the head of a family. They are also much more likely than their male-identifying counterparts to have experienced a long history of abuse prior to incarceration. Therefore, tailored services that address that trauma lead to the best outcomes. This program is spearheaded by Katy Steinbruck, OAR Collective member that has been with the organization for more than 22 years.
OAR provides a variety of classes, groups, to incarcerated individuals at the Arlington County Detention Facility. These programs include classes in essential life skill areas such employment, parenting, and basic education such as computer literacy and writing. Since the COVID-19 Pandemic, we have continued with a hybrid approach to pre-release programming in the facilities offering both virtual and in-person programming.
OAR jail based programs include essential courses such as Stress Management, Conflict Resolution, Health Awareness, Life and Transitional Skills, Meditation and Mindfulness, Money Management, Parenting, Impact of Crime, Expressive Arts, Creative Writing, Starting Your Own Business, Life Skills for Spanish Speakers, Computers, Employability Readiness, Substance Abuse Education, among many others..
This six-week class teaches incarcerated individuals the intricacies of conducting an effective job search, writing resumes and cover letters, presenting oneself positively in the job interview, and working productively with supervisors and other members of the team. This program is intended to promote job retention for today’s challenging workplace.
Comments from OAR Collective Instructors and Volunteers
“The “Awareness” classes I teach are participatory sessions requiring active participation of the inmates. Topics include blame, acceptance, the grieving process, perceptions, paths through life, feelings, forgiveness and depression. When I first began volunteering I had the standard prejudices and attitudes about persons incarcerated. But the participants have been eager to grow and learn and to stop the current cycle of their lives. The experience has taught me much about our common humanity.”
Ben Perchik, Volunteer