Third Sector partnered with ProsperOK to design and launch JusticeLink, a free community center for justice-involved Oklahomans who need assistance navigating the criminal-legal system as they reenter their communities. The new center streamlines and simplifies the many services available to people dealing with criminal cases.
Most of us, whether we are White, Black, or Brown, believe that everyone should be able to live a full and healthy life, no matter what we may have done in our past. For too long, we've put up barriers to prevent formerly incarcerated and other system-involved people from exiting the system and building thriving, successful lives.
For years, Tulsa County struggled to reduce recidivism, contributing to a cycle of incarceration. The county releases 16,000 Tulsans from jail every year. Nearly 35% of all Tulsa County jail admissions represent people arrested multiple times in the year. Many of these individuals cannot access care, housing, and work because of systemic barriers complicating their ability to transition back into their families and communities. Tulsa County's struggle to break this cycle of incarceration and eliminate the racial disparities within the system has profoundly affected the community as a whole.
Since 2021, ProsperOK, a project of the Tulsa Community Foundation, has worked to increase economic opportunities for individuals with criminal-legal system involvement by generating innovations in policy and practice and investing in housing, health, and other wraparound and community-driven solutions.
In 2022, ProsperOK and Third Sector convened more than 80 key stakeholders (representing county- and state-level public agencies, nonprofit service providers, and community members) to develop a vision for coordinated diversion services. Their goal was to support individuals navigating complex court cases and supervision requirements, resolve basic needs (benefits enrollment, getting an ID), and prevent deeper escalation within the system.
Third Sector began by gathering information to better understand Tulsa County's system context and challenges at a deeper level, reviewing literature, and directly engaging 43 individuals with criminal-legal system-involvement in one-on-one interviews and focus groups. Because criminal legal system encounters are often difficult and deeply personal to recount, Third Sector led with a trauma-informed lens, only engaging people voluntarily and providing compensation to recognize the value of each person's experiences.
ProsperOK and Third Sector designed and launched in October 2022 JusticeLink, a free community resource center for Tulsans who need assistance navigating the criminal-legal system. The new resource streamlines and simplifies services available to people navigating legal cases through collaboration with public agencies and nonprofit providers. The lived experiences of the 43 individuals Third Sector engaged became the basis for the vision and operational design of JusticeLink.
Since its launch, JusticeLink has delivered personalized navigation services to help individuals resolve their court conditions and underlying basic needs—with the goal of reducing recidivism, building economic vibrance, and improving individuals' quality of life. JusticeLink has provided services to more than 670 clients with 413 actively engaged as of June 23, 2023 (excluding clients receiving only Court Navigation services).
In addition, JusticeLink has developed a network of community providers in a closed loop referral system to 20 providers, with more than 400 referrals made to diverse and comprehensive services best equipped to meet individual client needs. To date, JusticeLink has successfully housed 40 individuals previously experiencing chronic homelessness, coordinated more than 2500 rides for court and resource navigation needs, facilitated the attainment of more than 200 vital documents and more than 80 court ordered assessments, enrolled more than 230 clients with government benefits, and issued more than 500 emergency food bags. JusticeLink’s collective efforts have resulted in substantive system impacts including warrant resolutions and bond reinstatements absent arrest, application to accelerate/revoke withdrawals, sustained compliance with court and probation obligations, and increased consideration of client needs throughout the court process.
Diversion and Reentry
|Designing a More Equitable and Youth-Centered Contracting Function for the Newly Formed Department of Youth Development||County||CA||Closed|
|Third Sector partnered with The W. Haywood Burns Institute and the LA County Chief Executive Office to establish the county’s Department of Youth Development (DYD). DYD sets more responsive and equitable ways for the county to deploy funding and resources to community-based prevention and support services for youth at risk, currently engaged, or previously involved with the criminal-legal system.|
|Supporting Formerly Incarcerated, Homeless Oregonians at High Risk of Recidivating||County||OR||Closed|
|Third Sector supported a Lane County partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development & U.S. Department of Justice in the first Permanent Supportive Housing project in the county to help formerly incarcerated, homeless Oregonians who are at high risk of recidivating. Led by Homes for Good Housing Agency, Sponsors, Inc. and Lane County Parole and Probation, The Way Home will serve 125 Oregonians struggling with homelessness over the next few years.|