by Mike Kinney

The needs of men and women recently released from incarceration can’t be overstated. The majority of material and social structures they had prior to sentencing have been either changed during their time away or no longer exist. To cite Maslow, the essentials of shelter, food and safety are the most immediately critical to human survival.

Further challenges of the newly-released are complicated by the disadvantage of having a criminal record. Because of their past errors, many have “burned bridges” of support previously supplied by family and close friends. Contrary to popular opinion, prisons and jails strive to be a place of reform, anticipating the release of their residents.  Most of the men and women leaving incarceration have improved education, vocational and life-skills. It takes time and changed behavior to build back or, in some cases, establish for the first time, that one is law-abiding, reliable and responsible.

The People’s City Mission is an excellent opportunity for such people. PCM accepts both Parolees and Probationers consistent with the needs expressed above. While residing at the PCM, their essential needs are met with non-judgement and technical assistance in job-seeking, healthcare, transportation and on-site work responsibilities. Those who reside at the PCM find it to be a vital stepping-stone making the difference in whether or not they establish long-term, stable, productive lives. Without this vital transition piece, many would fail within the first week adding to recidivism statistics and contributing to the problem of prison crowing.

As the needs of recently released offenders can’t be overstated, neither can the viability and necessity of the People’s City Mission. An investment in PCM is an investment in pro-active social change. It increases productivity, lessens crime and promotes safety.

The Curtis Center

The Curtis Center (part of PCM) offers hope and second chances to those coming out of incarceration. Did you know that an inmate doesn’t even have a chance at parole if they don’t have anywhere to go after release? Having a plan in place before going before the parole board is important, so The Curtis Center works with institutions to make that happen for these men hoping for a fresh start.

Ken has been at The Curtis Center for about a year. He recently got off parole and has a job working for the Mission doing cleaning and other tasks. Since Ken has been in the program, we’ve helped him reconnect with his sister and his kids, find meaningful work, and provided him a safe and stable environment. “This has given me the ability to get my life back in order; have a chance to prioritize things. They’ve helped guide me down the right path.”

Impact the Curtis center has had by the numbers:

  • 50% of inmates released are back in jail within 3 years. The Curtis Center gives them a better chance, with a recidivism rate of around 34%.
  • At this time last year, Nebraska correctional facilities were on average 145% over designed capacity. The Curtis Center helps to alleviate overcrowding in Nebraska facilities.
  • In 2021 alone, the Curtis Center had 160 program participants. Each one is given the opportunity for a fresh start in life and the resources to achieve their goals.

Would you consider a financial gift to help reach men like Ken? We at the Mission, and those we serve, are so grateful for your support.

God’s blessings,
Pastor Tom