TEAM (Teamwork for Employment Access through Mentoring) offers a range of reentry services to offenders in Portage County, WI in an effort to reduce the high rate of local recidivism. Its primary service is to provide offenders with individualized, relationship-based support in the form of one-on-one mentoring. The program encourages long-lasting personal changes in perspective and lifestyle through the guidance of pro-social community networks and resources. TEAM case managers work with volunteer mentors to provide ongoing training and support to enhance the mentoring experience for both mentor and offender.
With its emphasis on employability, TEAM program coordinators and community volunteers work with local businesses to provide instruction in professional skills such as business writing, public speaking, interviewing, personal financial responsibility and work ethics. The TEAM Reentry Program also streamlines existing community services for offenders, providing them with easier access to mental health, relationship management and substance abuse treatment.
TEAM is committed to generating reliable data collection and outcome measurements. TEAM tracks offenders during and after their time in the program in order to compare their progress to a control group of offenders with similar risk ratings and backgrounds. TEAM’s comprehensive outcome analysis brings both quantitative as well as qualitative understanding of TEAM’s impact on the offender population and the community at large.
Looking Back at TEAM
On April 29, 2014 a chapter closed on a very successful program offered through Justiceworks. That is the date of the final grant report submitted to the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The name of the program was T.E.A.M., which stood for Teamwork, Employment, Access, thru Mentoring.
The program was funded by the Federal Government through the Second Chance Act grant. From 2011 when case management began, to the grants’ conclusion 78 people (to varying degrees) received support. There were 48 males and 30 females that walked into the Justiceworks offices wanting to change their lives.
Some of the participants earned degrees, others found sustaining employment, all found self respect and pride in themselves.
The goal of the program was to reduce recidivism, which was achieved. What has also occurred is that we have formed lasting relationships with many of our former clients. Many drop in to chat or update us on how there life has changed or is continuing to change.
Justiceworks helped make a difference in not only the participant’s lives, but helped to increase the overall quality of life in our community through the T.E.A.M. program.