Mapping a new landscape for returning citizens in Washington, D.C.

Community leaders, Laurin and Teresa Hodge, co-directors of Mission Launch, Inc., are laying the foundation to make the District a “re-entry friendly city” to people retuning home from prison. And Impact Hub DC is honored to be a part of it. The seeds of this bold vision are sprouting from a broad-based community innovation effort called “Rebuilding Re-entry,” which kicked off November 2014 at Impact Hub DC with the first ever hackathon focused on solving the challenges faced by citizens returning from prison.

As the first 3-day reentry focused hackathon of its kind: Rebuilding Re-entry inspirited feelings of community, commitment, creativity, and collaboration for it’s participants innovating inside Impact Hub DC. This is the inaugural event of our long term and bold  movement around returning citizens.

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The purpose of the Rebuilding Re-entry Hackathon was to bring together a diverse and cross-sector core team of community allies. Over 240 hackathon participants convened inside Impact Hub DC and collectively mapped the landscape of challenges returning citizens face upon release from prison. In attendance were women and men who have returned home from prison, government officials, employment groups, members of the tech community, social justice leaders, students, and educators from the DMV area.

One participant said of their experience at Rebuilding Reentry, “In 20 years I’ve never experienced brainstorming like this for ex-offenders.”

Another person remarked, “It’s so hard to get really talented people to work on this issue… This blew my mind.”

6 projects emerged over the three-day hackathon. One team started to build something called “The Second Chance Employer Database.” The purpose of the tool is for users to:

(1) discover re-entry friendly employers who are willing to hire applicants with a criminal conviction as well as those returning home from prison or jail

(2) learn more about their rights as D.C. has recently joined other cities across the country with the passing of the Fair Criminal Record Screening Act more commonly known as “Ban The Box.”

In only its third month, the Rebuilding Reentry innovations are already making their mark. This January, the “Second Chance” team, lead by Aliya Rahman, program director for Code for Progress, a non-profit that teaches women and people of color to code, won 1st place at HACKDANCE, the first celebrity-driven social impact hackathon competition at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah!

There is incredible promise with Rebuilding Reentry and Impact Hub DC is proud to help catalyze some of the most impactful and needed innovations in our city. We’re grateful to be a partner with this inspired community of doers that has decided to work the issue of reentry for as long as it takes!

Thanks to the Rebuilding Reentry sponsors, core leadership team and participants for their ongoing, amazing contributions:

Mission: Launch Inc., Foster Care 2 Success, Rebrandrr.com, Federal Compliance Consulting LLC,  Maryland State Government,  Promethean Community LLC,  8twenty3 Graphic Design Studio, DC Office of Human Rights, Art in Praxis, Alliance for CHANGE, Garden of Hope CDC, Code for DC, Live to Give, Weissberg Foundation, General Bueno, Coliseum Apparel, Catering by Furby, I Have a Bean, University of the District of Columbia, Pitt Sure Company, New Organizing Institute, and Impact hub DC members.

We’re excited to be apart of this collective of thinkers, doers and creators committed to making prison re-entry more efficient and effective here in DC.

Here’s how you can join in the work.

Learn what’s next for the Rebuilding Reentry Network

Source: http://washington.impacthub.net/2015/02/06/mapping-reentry/


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