What We Do

Second Chance Center aspires to reduce recidivism rates of formerly incarcerated men and women by helping them transition to lives of success and fulfillment.  We take the approach that the level of an individual’s personal investment of focus, effort, and commitment will determine how successful their re-entry process will be, and how well maintained the freedom will be.  SCC is staffed by experienced Criminal Justice Insiders offering case management, mentoring, and uniquely positive “role modeled examples of the possibilities” in order to help participants reestablish their lives and deal with the challenges of returning to their families and communities.

 

Discovery

The behavior of the criminal conduct-driven person undeniably defies both the logic and intelligence others attribute to them (or they to themselves).  This is because:

  • Prior periods of substance abuse remain an impactful factor, increasing the probability of relapse.
  • Cognitive mental processes, often developed over a lifetime, reinforce criminal behavior.
  • Trauma, abuse, family dysfunction, violence, and resentment may reside at the core of the decision making processes that make criminality appear as an acceptable option.
  • Stress of a life of poverty, denial, bias, and lack of opportunity has influence on behaviors.
  • The disease of addiction and criminality generally are, in part, symptomatic of other things gone wrong in the offender’s life.
  • Most formerly incarcerated persons are unaware of many of the factors that come into play in determining the course of their lives.

Acknowledging ones individual responsibility for decisions and actions is where we begin. Helping the client see that “the strength of decisions dictate direction” is not only the first step; it is where the process of transformation to success and fulfillment has its genesis.

 

Counseling Approaches

Second Chance Center is implementing different approaches to this population and their unique needs and circumstances, through individual and group mentoring strategies:

Pre-release individual mentoring is being provided (where possible i.e. in Colorado Department of Corrections prisons, county jails and Community Corrections/halfway house facilities) to assess the participant’s risk and needs and to develop a transition plan, including the identification of re-entry resources.

Post-release case management is supplemented by both individual and group mentoring.  Groups encourage the significant changes required to curtail self-sabotage and episodes of criminality and violence (including gang activities), maintain sobriety, and aid in the successful transition to lives of satisfaction and fulfillment.  These steps are based upon clinical theories and concepts “translated” so as to be more palatable to this uniquely challenging population, and featured in the book Never Going Back: 7 Steps to Staying Out of Prison, authored by SCC Executive Director, Hassan A, Latif.  These steps are as follows:

  • Step One: Own Your Own Crap – - Acknowledging one’s own responsibility in whatever the current life circumstances are.
  • Step Two: Baggage Dump – - Forgiving self and others or some semblance of moving on. This step includes learning how to identify beliefs and behaviors that no longer serve any useful purpose, and discarding them.
  • Step Three: Developing the Internal Guidance System – - This step helps to engage and develop that internal guidance system which most people instinctively have to support sound decision making practices.
  • Step Four: Knowing Your Addiction – - It Certainly Knows You Well! This step implores a different approach to helping someone acknowledge and confront their addiction, whether to substances or the criminal lifestyle.
  • Step Five: Thought Shifting: (Powering Up) – - This step is a cognitive change strategy reworked to increase the likelihood of acceptance and implementation by the typically “most challenging” clients.
  • Step Six: Learning Acceptance and Ego Management – - Getting In Where You Fit In.
  • Step Seven: Stop Dreaming……Plan! – - This step helps participants develop the ability to set realistic and attainable goals, define them as short or long term, and map out the course to achieving/accomplishing those things.

 

Supplementary Counseling Approaches

Second Chance Center also conducts  Fitness Training groups designed to help clients:

  • Maintain the fitness discipline they often began while incarcerated but lack the resources to maintain upon release.
  • Have a constructive recreational outlet that encourages peer support, peer approval, and provides healthy alternatives to criminal activity
  • Access a proven method of frustration reduction and anger management.  The fitness training groups are facilitated by a case manager who is also a certified trainer.

NOTE:  For the formerly incarcerated population “weight piles” are the equivalent of country clubs, where problems are discussed and where networking and relationship building takes place.

 

F.O.R.C.E.

Second Chance Center has implemented a community service arm the agency calls F.O.R.C.E  -  Former Offenders Reintegrated for Community Enrichment. This group of transitioning persons (male & female of which some who are many years into the process) come together to change the environment to which felons are released and to help the formerly incarcerated become empowered within the political and social systems which factored into their incarceration. F.O.R.C.E. meets each month to plan events, attend/testify at state legislative hearings, and educates the public about how they can help to negate the impact of collateral consequences (those conditions which continue to negatively impact people after completion of their sentences/commitments).

 

Community Alliances

Second Chance Center has built solid relationships with other faith and community-based organizations in an effort to enhance the delivery of services/assistance to participants with critical transitional needs.  Services are provided with the knowledgeable consideration of the diversity of this population (the Community) including ethnicity, religious and/or political affiliation, and gender or sexual orientation/identification.

Prudent consideration of community safety and the allocation of tax payer dollars (both of critical importance) are reflected in the efforts of Second Chance Center. Appropriate time, energy, focus and resources directed at this particular population’s transitional needs on the front end could, in many cases, help to avoid the burdensome cost of continued criminality, victimization, family upheavals and the historic re-incarcerations that have defined re-entry cycles in the past.

Never Going Back !!