Adult Re-Entry to slam the prison's revolving door shut (VOF Month 1)
When things are put into their proper perspective it can seem like 'suddenly' the solutions are obvious and obtainable. With Alaska's indigenous population, where so much change happened in such a little time, our once-proud tribes have fallen on hard times. The over-representation of indigenous males in Alaska's jail system is a symptom of the ills that plague our tribes. It can easily happen where a teen goes to a party with his friends, gets drunk, and 'wakes up' and discovers he has spent most of his adult life behind bars. Denise R. Morris, indigenous activist and president of Alaska Native Justice Center (ANJC) is working to help bring perspective back to the male indigenous population.
Denise helped form the ANJC and was instrumental in creating the program known as Adult Re-Entry to help them Find your Voice, Find your Way. It was created as a way to break that cycle that many find themselves in where the prison becomes a revolving door and change it into an exit only one. The program is designed to reach these men while in prison and looks at the total environment of the person. For those who want and are willing to work for a successful transition from prison to society, this is one way to do it. Denise is proud of the fact that all of the men who have completed the program have not been re-incarcerated.
The main area she is currently working on is figuring out why some do not complete the program. Working from a restoration standpoint that is designed to look at someone's complete environment as a unit she believes we can break the vicious cycle that can happen. The transition groups are designed to help guide someone who is willing to change their lifestyle and include:
* Probation Violation Relapse Prevention
* Building Interview & Employment Skills
* Goal Setting
* Housing Options
* Controlling Emotions
* Leveling the Playing Field
* Moral Reconation Training
What is great about this program is that it is culturally aware and based on prevention, intervention and advocacy initiatives. Denise strongly believes that domestic violence/sexual assault is entirely preventable and works to help create that empowering environment for the indigenous people of Alaska. She works to create awareness in the individual so they can discover their own voice and realize they can choose their own path in life. Empowering themselves is a worthy goal and why Denise feels that this one initiative will have the most effect for Alaska's tribes. This program aims to put things into their proper perspective so the solutions to an individuals problems suddenly seem obvious and how they can turn their life around.