The Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC’s) mission is to “give every (returning citizen) released from prison the tools they need to succeed in the community” by using “evidence-based practices.” They also remind us that “everyone is responsible for (the) success” of returning citizens (Source). To this end, the KDOC allows groups such as Reaching Out From Within (ROFW) into their correctional facilities to help residents work through their emotional issues and gain job skills (Source).
Reaching Out From Within (ROFW) is proud to collaborate with the KDOC at prisons across Kansas, working hard to mentor returning citizens and reduce recidivism. ROFW Blue Book men’s groups meet at correctional facilities in Ellsworth, Hutchinson, Lansing, Larned, Norton, Oswego, Stockton, and Winfield. The ROFW women’s groups meet at the Topeka Correctional Facility. ROFW also serves residents at the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth.
As one of the most effective and longest-running programs in KDOC, ROFW was started in 1982 by a ‘lifer’ at the then Kansas State Penitentiary. The program was so well received and had such positive results that it spread gradually throughout the prison system in Kansas. Working inside the KDOC system with its Blue Book Curriculum and mentorship program, ROFW helps residents embrace transformational change by examining the roots of their behavior. Members meet in weekly meetings to discuss Blue Book topics and work out their issues together. In addition to Blue Book groups that meet inside, ROFW assists returning citizens with workforce development and finding affordable housing.
For those participating in 100 or more ROFW meetings, the recidivism rate is 17%, which is 19 percent LESS than the overall rate in Kansas (Source). This dramatic difference demonstrates that our Blue Book Curriculum, mentorship program, and reentry assistance, using best practice principles, give returning citizens the workplace, financial, and social-emotional tools they need to be successful.