By Dale White , Founder & President
The Vision for Reentry Solutions Network (RSN) began about 9 years ago in 2012 when I began going back into prisons as a volunteer with Celebrate Recovery at the suggestion of my Sponsor. He suggested that I needed to give back. I was in my early months of recovery. My sobriety date is October 10th, 2011. When I was released from prison in Florida in May of 2000 the last thing I said I ever wanted to do was to go back inside for any reason. But here it was 11 years from my release and I was on a downward spiral and headed there if I couldn't get it together. My sponsor suggested that if I gave back and helped others like me it would give me a better chance of staying clean and sober. I was 55 and had been trying unsuccessfully to get clean & sober and stay clean & sober for most of my adult life. My addictions are what landed me in prison. I wanted to stay clean and sober and not go back to prison as a resident so I took the suggestion and went as a volunteer.
Fast forward through over 9 years of serving those in prison and those returning home. I founded The Living Harvest in 2013, a residential reentry nonprofit that now has 26 beds and three Thrift Stores as social enterprises and have been a Celebrate Recovery Inside State Rep for years,
I moved on from The Living Harvest in August 2019 and I have been serving on an Executive Level Committee for the Florida Department of Corrections for Reentry and Work Force Development (remember they once incarcerated me ) and the Community Advisory Board for the Institute for Justice Research & Development at FSU. I am the Program Manager for Mercy House , a Reentry Program with Good News Outreach in Tallahassee that contracts with the Dept. of Corrections and GEO to provide Reentry Services.
I was chosen in 2016 by Just Leadership USA to participate in their Leading with Conviction Leadership Training Program ( jlusa.org) .and also in 2016 I was invited to the Executive Session on Community Corrections at Harvard and to the White House for a Convening on Criminal Justice Reform. I was invited and attended an appreciation dinner held by First Lady Ann Scott at the Florida Governors Mansion in 2018 with about 40 other leaders from around state and have been involved with Reentry in every way you can imagine.
I tell you all these things because they have shaped and refined my vision for Reentry Solutions Network. Why RSN? Because every day I look at a 78 % Reentry failure rate in the face and know we have got to do better. Seventy-eight percent of those released from incarceration will be re-arrested within five years of being released. Six hundred thousand , 600,000 will be released from prisons this year. Twelve million more will cycle in and out of our jails.
I believe we can do better and I believe RSN will provide the opportunities for returning citizens and our communities to make it happen! Please join me and on my next Blog Post and I will explain in more detail how I propose we do that ! Till then, remember-
NOTHING GREAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HOLD BACK! "From the movie HOME RUN"