Our Services

ICM is more than a reentry program -- It is a reintegration program that begins by building a relationship with participants prior to their release date. ICM acts as a healing liaison between family members, community, and the person reintegrating into society. All services are provided through a trauma-informed approach, which recognizes the presence of trauma symptoms and acknowledges the role that trauma has played in the lives of the individuals we serve. The approach seeks to change the paradigm from "What's wrong with you?" to one that asks "What has happened to you?".

 

The trauma-informed approach used by ICM in all of our services focuses on six key principles:

1) Safety

2) Trustworthiness

3) Peer Support

4) Collaboration

5) Empowerment 

6) Cultural Competency

 

Trauma-specific programs recognize an individual's need to be respected, informed, connected and hopeful. There is a relationship between trauma and its symptoms such as substance use, mood, and eating disorders. This framework recognizes the need to work collaboratively with government agencies, family, friends, and mental health providers to provide empowerment. For individuals who have been incarcerated, this approach is vital in supporting them in a way that does not inadvertently cause additional harm. To ensure a streamlined approach, the ICM Coordinator/Community Liaison works closely with the program directors, community-based organizations, and correctional staff, by promoting positive reinforcement through trauma-informed practices to best assess and serve returning citizens.

 

Services

Recruitment & Outreach

3 people connectedICM conducts extensive recruitment efforts inside the prison and in the community. Inside correctional facilities, this includes attending resource fairs, speaking with Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCC) parole officers, and other organizations working inside. In the community, we provide information about our program through social media, networking events, and word-of-mouth. As our network continues to widen, interest in our program grows. We are currently in talks to expand beyond Taconic into Bedford Hills and Department of Corrections on Rikers Island  

Initial Assessment

In order to build rapport and trust, we initiate our services inside the prison, before individuals are released. Approximately two months prior to coming home, ICM staff visit individuals in the prison to assess and map out a plan that meets their unique needs and any parole requirements.

Release Preparation

We utilize information gathered through the assessment to plan for services and make referrals (e.g. housing, employment, academic). Staff works closely with families to prepare them for their loved one’s return, and to support them in family reintegration efforts. This includes educating families about possible anxieties and triggers that their loved one might have due to their experience while incarcerated and how to be supportive during transition challenges. To foster a streamlined approach to reintegration, we meet with families prior to the individual’s release, and offer to escort family members to the prison on the release date, and bring them to their housing destination. If a returning citizen does not have family who wished to meet them on their release date, ICM staff will meet them at the prison and escort them to their housing destination.

Acclimation and Advocacy

Having the relevant experience, a credible messenger will escort participants to their appointments and advocate for them when necessary. A smooth reintegration process includes returning citizens feeling supported through the many arduous tasks of negotiating government agencies after short-term or decades of incarceration. As ICM helps individuals acclimate to the community, staff will assist participants through the process of developing healthy lifestyles in a sustained way.  This includes applying for Snap,  other benefits,  and visiting farmers markets as we provide recommendations on healthy food choices and living. From research, we understand that returning citizens can suffer from tremendous stress and health issues. Therefore it is imperative we assist in the development of healthy lifestyles important to our holistic model of service.

Skills Training

ICM offers professional skills development and assists with employment placement. Our skills training include:

Career and Academic Planning: The educational needs of returning citizens will be addressed by the extensive academic connections of ICM. This includes programs to help individuals obtain their High School Equivalency Diploma (HSE, formerly the GED), their college degree (Associate, Bachelors, Masters, and beyond), or Professional License or Certificate (e.g., Automotive Technician, Electrician, Building Maintenance, and other vocations). ICM also assists with career planning, helping to identify returning citizens’ interests and different possible occupations. Our planning services are sensitive to the potential career pathways for our participants and are mindful of the licenses and occupations that currently have restrictions for people with a criminal record.

Technology Training: While in prison, individuals have limited/no access to computers, cell phones, emails or any of the technologies that are necessary for self- sufficiency in today's society. This digital divide incapacitates returning citizens, affecting their ability to apply for online job applications, apply and take electronic placement tests for school, and maintain daily contact with their online social networks. In order to bridge this gap that can impede on their success, we provide technology tutorials for returning citizens to teach basics on email, web searches, cell phone use, social media, and Microsoft Office (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint).

Ongoing Social Support

ICM provides ongoing social support to returning citizens, utilizing restorative practices, which has been proven to be most effective in stress management, conflict resolution, and mediation. ICM employs these practices with individual counseling and in group circle sessions. ICM staff work with families each step of the way, providing social support in tandem with our participants while they are inside and when they return home.

Programs

The REACT program is a weekly peace and healing circle in which the women will engage in facilitated discussions that focus on the residual trauma of incarceration, the realities of reentry, and the hard skills needed to have a successful homecoming and future. REACT stands for real effective, approach, changing, trauma and facilitated by ICM Executive Director Tyisha Jackson. REACT was created because formerly incarcerated people come home to a world very different from the one they left.

Tyisha is a walking testimonial of the disconnection experienced by formerly incarcerated people. She has experienced, racial discrimination and the stigma of incarceration. Tyisha had to fight long and hard to achieve the many accomplishments she has today. She is determined to make the transition from incarceration to society less stressful and more resourceful for the women she mentors.

Tyisha understands that for formerly incarcerated people there is a huge digital divide because prisoners have no access to technology that goes beyond the push-button telephone and electric typewriter. For a person just coming home from an extended prison sentence, living in a society where everything is computerized can make something as simple as buying and using a Metrocard seem like calculus. People in society take for granted that everyone knows how to navigate this new technological world. These and many other problems can ultimately lead to recidivism because returning citizens get discouraged. Living in prison seems easier than living in the free world.

In accordance with what we have learned as mentors in this field, a warm meal will open each group meeting to set the tone of a family. Metrocards will be provided to the women at each meeting. Ongoing personal mentorship and coaching will complement the community-centered circles. The facilitators are both Credible Messengers who have lived-experience of incarceration and reintegration.

the real connect (3)

Formerly incarcerated women have needs, traumas, and responsibilities to family and community that are unique from men. These needs are largely unaddressed in traditional reentry programs. Guest speakers and instructors help the group members adapt to current processes — from job hunting to securing benefits to navigating child welfare to housing programs. 

Get in Touch With Us

If you have questions about our services or want to know how you can get involved, contact us now!