Level Ground is a reentry mentoring program, committed to improving a man's quality of life when he is released from prison and committed to reducing the chances he will return. Through this program the Georgia corrections budget can be reduced.
Level Ground mentors are male volunteers, 25 years or older, with training that includes realistic goals and expectations, dynamics of prison life and culture, challenges of finding stable housing and secure employment, behaviors related to healthy family relationships, complications of substance abuse and mental health problems, and the life principles and practices of Motivational Interviewing. The one on one voluntary relationship between a mentor and a former inmate begins several weeks before a man's release and continues for six to twelve months on a weekly basis. Level Ground emphasizes effective results and improving measurable outcomes in a man's overall quality of life.
The state of Georgia spends $1.1 billion per year on the incarceration of 56,000 men, women and youth. Nearly one third of the 17,000 men released each year will be reconvicted within three years - most due to parole violations or to violations related to the basic logistics of life. The recurring need for a meal and a place to sleep, without an effective plan, often leads a person to break a law and return to prison.
While we all share a common humanity, some experience a more level ground of opportunity than others. The level Ground reentry mentoring program assists former inmates as they develop self-sufficiency. Once a man's basic needs are managed, a mentor continues to support him in his efforts to establish a stable home, connect to job opportunities, obtain more education and develop additional skills.
Level Ground promotes emotional well-being and effective self-development, so that former inmates may achieve more of the things that matter - freedom with respect and dignity, relationships of care, and work that brings satisfaction.
The Level Ground program has been developed in consultation with and modeled on FOCUS, a successful reentry mentoring program in Boulder, Colorado - www.focusreentry.org.