Starting April 29, returning citizens recently released from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will be eligible for services at the newly opened READY (Resources to Empower and Develop You) Center, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced in a statement on April 12.
The mayor opened the READY Center earlier this year. Previously imprisoned D.C. residents can gain access to vital post-release services such as housing and employment assistance, and also benefit from the educational and health care support and opportunities at the center. They can also obtain vital documents and other treatment services of programs meant to tackle substance use disorder and mental health aftercare.
“The READY Center is about being more intentional in how we set our returning citizens and their families up for success. In expanding access to the READY Center to returning citizens from the Bureau of Prisons, we can reduce barriers and provide more residents with the meaningful second chance they need to live healthy, happy lives in our community,” Bowser said in an official statement.
— DC DOC (@DCCorrections) February 12, 2019
The READY Center was only available to inmates released from the custody of the Department of Corrections (DOC) until now. Every year about 1,800 to 2,200 individuals are released from BOP to the District. At the moment, the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs (MORCA) helps residents returning from the BOP with accessing services and supports at multiple D.C. Government agencies. However, at the READY Center, these resources are now streamlined so that the residents don’t have to travel to many District offices.
“Currently, within 30 days prior to an inmate’s release, he or she will fill out an interest card to identify his or her post-release needs. Upon release, returning citizens participate in a one-time visit to the READY Center (the same day as their release or the next business day). The READY Center connects participants with MORCA, community-based organizations, and other D.C. Government agencies for ongoing case management, and all follow-up visits are handled at the respective agency,” according to the press release from the D.C. Mayor’s Office.
The residents can avail services at the READY Center within 45 days of their release as MORCA and DOC have come together to develop a referral system for BOP inmates. The BOP population can get these services at the facility starting from April 29, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.