Experts Meet On Reentrant Mentoring and Transportation Study
In 2021 Butler University Professor of Economics, Kathy Paulson Gjerde, PhD published a ground-breaking study that compared the work histories of employees without a record to those who had a criminal background and found no statistical difference in job performance between the two groups. With this evidence in hand UNITE INDY has been able to sign up 45 employers who are hiring some of the thousands of those released from Central Indiana jails and prisons every year. But more information is needed.
A new study is in the planning stages, to statically determine the longitudinal impact of those reentrants who experienced mentoring and transportation services to and from work during their period of reengagement into the general population. Without reliable transportation, it is almost impossible to get and keep a job, which is the backbone of successful reentry, and without a mentor to assist with the pressure of decision-making and the constant need for reliable advice, reentry can be doomed from the start.
Words are great. Observation is good. But facts and numbers provide a solid foundation on which to build improved outcomes for those who want a better life after incarceration.
Photo from left: UNITE INDY's Scott Whiting, Doug Evans, and Jim Cotterill; Butler University's Kathy Paulson Gjerde PhD; Marion County Community Corrections Community Systems Coordinator, Jacqueline Coleman; and Marion County Community Corrections Executive Director, Scott Hohl.  
Reentrants Apply For Jobs Through UNITE INDY At OPHS Job Fair!
First, UI's Jim Cotterill takes the time to shake hands and introduce himself to each reentrant who is looking for a good job. Then he walks them through the online registration process to apply for jobs on our SecondChanceIndy.com site. Pay rates are between $15 and $23 per hour on the site, and many employers offer bonuses for good attendance and other benefits. Or, reentrants can apply to go through Catapult's training at $15 per hour, and receive certification to qualify them for higher paying manufacturing jobs. So far, 100 percent of those who have completed the training have been hired. Says Jim, "Spending the day at a job fair is not glamorous work, but it is invigorating to know that you're helping to change a life." Congrats to the Office of Public Health & Safety, and all the employers who took part in the job fair!
Pictured: UNITE INDY's President, Jim Cotterill and a stream of reentrants.
IT Pro & Data Conversion Specialist On Board at UNITE INDY
Just about the time our Director of Administration, Sherry Jackson, was figuring out how to tackle the difficult task of converting our thousands of data points on various platforms onto a single, fully integrated system, an old friend, Dianna Houston, casually mentioned she would be interested in helping out at UNITE INDY. (This is what we'd call a "God send.")
Dianna worked for more than 30 years as an IT professional, with special expertise in business systems software and data conversions, as well as application development and design, and had experience with accounting and financial systems. As a UNITE INDY volunteer, Dianna will assist with the conversion from multiple systems to a single, robust platform to ensure the integrity of our data. In addition, she is working to convert and launch a new transportation tool to better run the van transportation services we provide that deliver reentrants to and from jobs. Welcome Dianna!!
Pictured: UNITE INDY's Director of Administration, Sherry Jackson (left), and Dianna Houston, UI's new IT Specialist
Tiera Nicole Chronicles
Black Youth Stories
Tiera Nicole, founder of Lady Justice and I, met with UNITE INDY’s Doug Evans recently to discuss her efforts to “elevate and uplift the voices and stories of those directly impacted by the Criminal Justice System.” Founded in 2021, it is her hope that through advocacy and storytelling, her organization can positively impact the criminal justice system and the outcomes of those in prison. The organization is currently focused on capturing the stories of Black youth living in central Indianapolis, aged 13 to 21, but will accept story submissions from other Black individuals who do not meet the age requirement. Click Here to share your story!
Pictured: UNITE INDY's Doug Evans and Tiera Nichole, Founder of Lady Justice and I
Employment & Housing For the Formerly Incarcerated
Always looking for ways to co-create with others working for reentrants, UI's Lamon Rush and Doug Evans met recently with Pastor Kevin Russell and Pastor Martin Thomas, of the Nazareth Man House* and NMH Services. Pastor Thomas was incarcerated for 21 years in Indiana and has served as the prison pastor in many facilities. Pastor Russell was his parole agent, which is how they came to work together in ministry.
Today, Russell is executive director of programs and ministry operations for the Nazareth Man House which provides shelter, a Christ-centered ministry program, mentoring and employment assistance during a 27 month program for reentrants. Pastor Martin is CEO of NMH Services, a for-profit commercial landscape and cleaning company set up to employ previously incarcerated men and women. The House provides programs and shelter for reentrants and NMH Services helps them to build an economic foundation for the future. Amen!
Pictured L to R: UNITE INDY's Lamon Rush and Doug Evans, Nazareth Man House's, Kevin Russell and NMH Service's Martin Thomas.
*Nazareth Man House operates under the umbrella of the Foresight For-givers Foundation. 
Therapy Dog, Officer Gus, Sworn In 
To IMPD Wellness Department
As a matter of course, officers work in environments where bad things happen. Be it an officer patrolling a high-crime neighborhood, a call to respond to a bar fight, or a homicide detective arriving at the scene of a multiple murder, the common factor in their jobs is stress. Enter Gus, IMPD's new therapy dog, who was recently sworn in and will begin his tour around all IMPD districts. Gus has been training for this job for the past 10 months, and "possesses exceptional empathy and a natural ability to read and respond to human emotions." The IMPD Office of Professional Development and Wellness was created in 2010 and serves more than 1,500 officers, reserves and civilians on staff, as well as their families. Pictured: Officer Gus
Would You Believe This Man Spent Years In Prison?
This is Charles Dutton, Broadway star, movie actor, and recipient of multiple Emmys. But he didn't start out that way. He was a violent felon.
Sentenced to five years for manslaughter in 1967 after a knife fight in which a man was killed, Dutton got out on parole and was soon arrested on robbery and handgun charges for which he was sentenced to the Maryland Penitentiary for three more years. After a fight with a guard, another eight years was added to his sentence. During that time he spent six days in solitary confinement for refusing to clean toilets.
That's when everything changed. Dutton's redemption is just one of two amazing stories in this Nancy's recent post that will convince you that people can and do change!
Why Support UNITE INDY?
UNITE INDY fights the root cause of poverty, which impacts some of the most pressing problems we face in our city, such as hunger, homelessness, and interrupted educational opportunities for children.
Our major focus is to assist the 12,000 inmates returning to Central Indiana after long-term jail sentences. UNITE INDY provides mentored job training inside the jail, and a website for those with a criminal record, SecondChanceIndy.com, filled with job openings offered by our Second Chance employer partners.
These jobs are powerful weapons with which to fight poverty in our neighborhoods.

How You Can Support Jobs for Justice- Involved Individuals
3. Please donate to UNITE INDY now. There are a number of choices that are all secure and safe. By sending your fully tax deductible gift* now we can have a greater impact meeting needs in our community in 2021
Support of Ministries and Charities:
Since 2017 UNITE INDY has provided a free web-based system at UNITEINDY.org that connects churches, ministries, and other charities to share their volunteer needs or needed items.

Remember, almost 1 out of every 3 children in Indianapolis lives below the poverty level, yet even in the aftermath of the COVID shut down, as our economy comes back to life and employment is returning, all this good news stops at the lines surrounding many of our inner city neighborhoods. In some neighborhoods of Marion County unemployment is now 21%, and poverty remains the overwhelming divider of people.

Please donate to UNITE INDY now. There are a number of choices that are all secure and safe. By sending your fully tax deductible gift* now we can have a greater impact meeting needs in our community in 2021.

Many, many thanks!

 *UNITE INDY, Inc. is approved under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3) as a Public Charity, donors can deduct contributions they make under IRC Section 170.
Corporate Partners
A big Thank YOU to our Corporate Partners for their unwavering support which makes it possible for us to provide our services at no charge to job applicants and employers!

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