The Big Bend AFTER Reentry Coalition began in March 2012 as a coalition of returning citizens, corrections, law enforcement, social service, and faith-based agencies. BBARC members and supporters meet on the second Wednesday of every month. We invite leaders in the community whose organizations are active in reentry to share their resources and information to help currently and formerly incarcerated people access identification documents, housing, education, employment, health services, substance abuse intervention, and mental health services.
We collaborate with and provide informational outreach to the Leon County business community to increase employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated people. We developed an Employer Guide to Hiring Formerly Incarcerated People, Public Service Announcement, and PowerPoint presentation to inform employers and formerly incarcerated people about hiring incentives such as the Federal Bonding program and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. We co-sponsored two Employer Summits providing detailed information to the business community about the advantages of hiring formerly incarcerated people. We sponsored “Crime and Justice in Tallahassee: A Community Conversation” at the Leon County Public Library on March 29, 2022.
We help update and disseminate the Leon County Human Services Resource Guide which provides currently and formerly incarcerated people, counselors, social service providers, probation officers, teachers, and community members with information about the many resources available in Leon County which assist people re-entering society with finding employment, securing a place to live, and accessing medical, substance abuse, mental health, and other counseling services.
We advocated for incarcerated individuals isolated due to Covid restrictions; we wrote letters to all people detained in the Leon County Detention Facility to offer support and information about community reentry resources; we advocated for access to vaccinations for people institutionalized and therefore at high risk.
BBARC and its partner agencies work closely with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office to establish and support the RISE Center. We will refer clients and community members to the RISE Center; at the Center, our partner agencies will play an integral part in connecting returning citizens with essential services.
This year we opened a Community Welcome and Wellness Center for returning citizens and are currently providing programming and connecting individuals to community resources.