Re-Entry, Investment Student Education

Re-Entry, Investment Student Education
Linh M. Sasser, Marketing Coordinator, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits

Over the next few weeks, as we spotlight the 2019 Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits (OKCNP) Visions honorees, we are spotlighting a nonprofit meaningful to each of the honorees.

Christie Luther, 2019 Visions Rodney Bivens Innovation Award recipient, founded the Re-Entry, Investment Student Education Program (RISE), after her experiences made her realize the need for a pathway to re-entry into the community for incarcerated women in Oklahoma.

According to prisonpolicy.org, in 2018, Oklahoma led the world in incarceration rate for women. In Oklahoma, there are 281 women incarcerated per 100,000 people versus 133 women per 100,000 in the United States.

According to a video on RISE’s Facebook page, a person exiting the prison system can have a fine of up to $25,000 for a meth charge. They are set up on a repayment program of $50 payments, leaving the person hopeless, without a job, housing or transportation.

RISE teaches incarcerated women at Mabel Basset Federal Penitentiary cosmetology skills, assists them with getting their license and helps them find a job. According to the RISE website, RISE not only helps with employment, but also securing housing, clothing, general life skills, recovery support and mentorship.

Individuals apply to the program and are selected by Christie. Students receive credits by attending classes for seven and a half hours daily for a year. Classes include theory and hands-on experience. Four days a week, a different unit is eligible to receive services from a RISE student.

Working with RISE, the Department of Corrections changed policy to allow nail polish on the yard. Because of this, students are able to meet the cosmetology board’s requirements in order to graduate.

Once a RISE graduate is released, Christie will work with the individual and various organizations such as Great Clips for employment, Suited for Success for clothing, housing organizations and mentorship programs to allow the graduate greater opportunities for success.

“I have taught in a public setting before the people in a public setting have never lost everything,” said Christie. “So there is an attitude of gratitude these ladies have. Yes, they have made some significant mistakes in their life. They can sit and analyze what they can do to make changes in their lives.”

To learn more about RISE Program, visit their website: riseprograminc.com

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