Mission: Launch, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, is committed to bringing marginalized communities closer to the core of society. We create solutions for people on the outskirts of mainstream society to leverage information, community, and entrepreneurship in an effort to lift themselves up from their current predicaments.
Every 24 hours 2,000 people come home from some form of correctional supervision in America. This prison re-entry influx is due in large part to the US having 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prison population (The November Coalition, 2012). As the number of citizens sent to prison has increased we have seen a spike in the number of citizens requiring support upon their release because 93% (American Correctional Association) of people sentenced to prison ultimately come “home”. In fact, the number of incarcerated citizens released annually equals the population size of Washington, D.C., and exceeds the population size of Wyoming (American Correctional Association).
To address this need, Mission: Launch, Inc. has developed a targeted effort – The Returning Citizens Project – which takes place in the Washington, D.C. and Maryland region.
In our experience women have a distinct desire to reconnect with community and with the number of women incarcerated increasing by nearly 800% (Women’s Prison Association, 2009) in the last three decades there is a great need to support this community. Globally there is a movement to invest in the earning potential of women as a means to move communities forward. Women’s empowerment has political and social support, financial backing, and academic research as allies in the movement; as such, our team is excited to carve out a niche focusing on female prison re-entry (The Urban Institute). The goal of the Returning Citizens Project is to shorten the time it takes to become an independent, financially stable citizen post incarceration, thereby reducing national recidivism rates and the strain on family and social structures.
Research concludes that returning citizens spend a lot of time trying to find the right prison re-entry solution for their unique situation and in the process chances of recidivism go up, families are strained and society is at risk for entitlement programs becoming further utilized. It is imperative that innovative and accessible programs are offered to ensure returning citizens are connected to the information, supportive communities and small business opportunities that could save their lives.