BOSTON – Community Resources for Justice is calling on community partners, allies, and advocates to join in supporting a push to keep Brooke House from closing its doors after 50 years of helping Boston men build stable, productive lives as they transition from incarceration back into the community.
The 65-bed prerelease program in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood is in jeopardy of closing due to a lack of funding. If that happens, it would be the latest in a string of programs for formerly incarcerated individuals to shut down or scale back their services. Span, Inc., and CRJ’s Overcoming the Odds and McGrath House programs have all closed within the last 18 months.
On Nov. 29, a dozen human service agencies and other organizations delivered an open letter to Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph Gants expressing their support for Brooke House and urging them to support adequate funding. The organizations that signed onto the letter include Whittier Street Health Center, Pine Street Inn, Project Place, Dorchester Bay Economic Development, Haley House, Massachusetts Communities Action Network, New England Center for Arts and Technology, Strategy Matters, Caribbean Integration Community Development, Ex-Prisoners Organization for Community Advancement, and Lyn Levy, founder of Span, Inc.
Some ways you can stand with Brooke House include:
- Sign onto the Support Statement urging adequate funding for community-based residential reentry services. To add your name to the Support Statement which is available here, please email Gabriella Priest at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name and the name of your organization.
- Spread the word on social media. Follow, like, and share our posts on Twitter and Facebook, and create your own with the hashtag #SupportBostonReentry.
- Sign up for email updates from CRJ at the bottom of our homepage.
- Email, write, and visit the governor’s office and your city councilors, state representatives and senators and tell them to support adequate funding for vital reentry services. Click here to find your legislators’ contact information. Click here to find contact information for Boston city councilors.
Brooke House serves men who are finishing jail or prison sentences by providing supervision and case management in a community setting, connecting them with support to obtain housing, employment, job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling, and rebuild relationships with family. By receiving these services in the community instead of a jail or a prison, these men are able to establish connections to services and support networks that will carry on after they’re released.
If Brooke closes, Boston will lose another program offering services that promote successful transitions from incarceration to the community, reduce the likelihood that someone will re-offend, and increase public safety.
Some useful facts about Brooke House and reentry are:
- Over the past five years, 1,100 men have benefited from Brooke House’s services.
- From March through August of 2017, 85 percent of residents successfully completed the program and 93 percent moved on to safe and stable housing.
- In August of 2017, 90 percent of Brooke House residents were employed.
- In a 2017 survey, 100 percent of Brooke House residents said the program made them feel better able to handle responsibility and that they are prepared to move back into the community.
- Brooke House received a perfect score on its 2017 accreditation by the American Correctional Association.
- Halfway houses reduce recidivism by up to 20 percent.
Click here for a fact sheet on reentry services and Brooke House.
Click here for a slide presentation from a recent meeting with community partners.