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Here’s the inherent problem with Philly’s Reentry Coalition

Too many puzzle pieces. October 20, 2016 Category: MethodPurposeShort
Herding 85 nonprofits and government agencies into the same room and limiting each to working on a specific segment of a complicated issue like reentry?

Get real.

Alas, this is the plan for the Reentry Coalition of Philadelphia, a vague group of nonprofits, city agencies and universities led by a Kenney administration-appointed coordinator, Aviva Tevah.

According to a recent piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the coalition plans to collectively cut recidivism by 25 percent in five years through a plan called Home for Good. Every organization that touches reentry and recidivism has to fit into puzzle.

And there’s the problem: There are too many pieces of the puzzle. Eighty-five organizations working on a collective plan without duplicating efforts (which means they’ll actually have to ~gasp~ share information) is overly ambitious.

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“It’s really time to start tying the knots together and doing what everyone in here does well,” Office of Reintegration Services (RISE) executive director Ceciley Bradford-Jones told the Inquirer. “If we all do what we do well and not stretch, I promise you this will work.”

Bradford-Jones told Generocity something similar last month when she was heading up the Philadelphia chapter of reentry nonprofit Center for Employment Opportunities, a few weeks before taking on her new role with the city.

Until an actionable plan is on the table with real commitments and data sharing, the Reentry Coalition is little more than a horse and pony show.

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