SPEAR, the undergraduate group working on prison reform, was, with PPro’s support, active in helping to drive the passage of the Welcome Home Initiative, which recently freed hundreds of New Jersey prison inmates, all of whom were nearing the ends of their terms, in part to protect them from COVID-19, which has been ravaging prisons. SPEAR sends the following information, asking for your help in facilitating these prisoners’ return to a normal life:
Gofundme: https://www.gofundme.com/f/q3wxa7-welcome-home-initiative or bit.ly/WelcomeHomeFundraiser
In-kind donations and volunteering: http://bit.ly/NJWelcomeHomeDonorForm
New York Times article about releases: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/04/nyregion/nj-prisoner-release-covid.html?fbclid=IwAR3K266yHFcna9XIOUGhx-ohqB3BSDhtCJ4dJjYambc6ZtDmxoJrR8YryF0
NJ Prison Justice Watch, a coalition of people with lived experience fighting for the dignity and human rights of currently and formerly incarcerated people, is partnering with the American Reentry Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, to introduce the Welcome Home Initiative. We seek to coordinate the efforts of concerned citizens across the state to provide comprehensive support and services to every returning citizen in New Jersey.
In addition to launching the first state-wide Welcome Home hotline to help individuals navigate the services in their area, we are also developing a network of distribution partners across the state where we can provide those recently released with the essential resources they need to start the next chapter of their life.
We need all the help you can provide to ensure we meet the needs of returning citizens in this historic moment: a release on this scale has never been attempted in the state’s, and perhaps even the country’s, history, and its success will depend on the generosity of the community members willing to step up.
Support the General Fund
Help us respond to immediate needs and keep the program running by donating to the initiative’s general fund, from which we will purchase debit/gift cards, phone plans, and the infrastructure needed to keep this program running. Donate via this link.
Donate Prepaid Debit & Gift Cards
Enable returning citizens to immediately get exactly what they need by donating either prepaid debit cards or gift cards to major retailers like Walmart, Target, ShopRite, NJ Transit, and more. Fill out this form.
Donate New or Used Cell Phones
Cell Phones are desperately needed to contact loved ones and access essential services as many offices are closed during the pandemic. We will accept new or gently used cell phones with chargers, as well as prepaid SIM cards. Fill out this form.
Donate Goods and Services
If you are or know a business owner who could donate services like haircuts, financial planning, or medical care, or have access to a bulk surplus of PPE, toiletries, or other essential goods, we need you! Fill out this form, and we will contact you about how to collect and distribute these to returning citizens.
Donate Your Time to the Cause
We need volunteers to make this historic effort happen! If you can volunteer on the hotline, help us with donor outreach, serve as a distribution point, or offer rides and transportation, please indicate that on the form here.