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PUEBLO to Sponsor Reentry Program with new Approach
by Pamela Drake
Thursday Jan 9th, 2014 1:04 PM
The watchdog organization PUEBLO is announcing a new approach to reentry for young men currently imprisoned at San Quentin or Santa Rita Jail. It will focus on pragmatic needs for employment and housing while assisting with mental health, family relations, and engaging in restorative justice for both the community and the formerly incarcerated called BIO, balancing the inner and outer needs of the person and his community.
PUEBLO to Sponsor Innovative Reentry Program People United for a Better Life in Oakland is a police watchdog and advocacy organization which also operates youth projects such as Alameda County’s Highway to Work program and the Youth Urban Harvest. These programs are already providing opportunities so that at risk youth can learn skills and stay in school while earning their own wages. PUEBLO is expanding its offerings with the award of a contract from the Alameda County Mental Health Department with funding derived from Assembly Bill 109, designed to assist formerly incarcerated young men. The program strives to aid men ages 18 to 30 who have recently been returned to the community from San Quentin prison and/or Santa Rita jail and provide them with a retinue of skills and support. It is called 'Balancing the Inner and Outer or BIO in order to provide an “integrated, holistic approach which combines skills training, enterprise development, and mentorship, while addressing trauma, helping released individuals repair [the] harm they have caused and establish[ing] productive relationships with their community,” according to the Innovations in Reentry website, innovationsinreentry.org. The director of this new project is Isaac Taggart who was the well-respected Reentry Coordinator under Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums. He was able to implement innovative policies in that position while he made use of his experience as an independent bookstore operator to promote entrepreneurial skills in the formerly incarcerated after they returned to Oakland. He is in the process of developing an intake structure at San Quentin and Santa Rita so that PUEBLO’s clients will be able to seamlessly reintegrate into the support this program provides. Mr. Taggart has experience in outreach to the business community in order to find jobs for his clients and to give them a sense of their historical place in Oakland’s community-known for its innovators, artists, entrepreneurs, and community activists. He brings these talents and experiences to PUEBLO’s on-going advocacy for the disenfranchised youth of Oakland. For more information, contact People United for a Better Oakland- 3528 Foothill Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94601 Phone: (510) 535-2525 Email: pueblo@peopleunited.org