Inland Empire Rebound helps former prisoners rebuild their lives – San Bernardino Sun

A San Bernardino nonprofit group equips individuals affected by the justice system with the support they need to rejoin their communities and succeed.

Owen Duckworth, who was formerly incarcerated, was able to get his life on track, secure a job and become a positive role model. Through this experience, he realized that others struggled with reentry because they did not have resources and support. Duckworth received help from friends and family, allowing him to change his negative behaviors, but others found themselves slipping back into their old lives.

When San Bernardino County launched a peer model program for prisoners preparing for reentry, Duckworth was asked to participate. He worked with the program for 18 months and saw its potential for increasing success. Recidivism in his group was reduced from 27% to 8%.

“I wanted to come back and create a positive impact, helping those who needed the tools,” Duckworth said. “Once the program ended with the county, I started my own organization in 2015.”

Today, Inland Empire Rebound — also known as IE Rebound — offers evidence-based services for people who are willing to embrace a second chance. The program works to ensure that participants find employment and housing while pursuing their goals, which can include education, family reunification and financial stability.

Through intensive case management, the organization identifies clients’ needs for long-term growth and success. Working with clients’ families, government agencies and supporting nonprofit organizations, IE Rebound creates comprehensive and collaborative strategies that eliminate barriers and challenges.

“I am able to meet my clientele at their point of need and let them know that they have an organization that is there for them,” Duckworth said. “That’s the most important thing  — knowing that you have someone who is not going to judge but come alongside you as you reconnect with the community.”

IE Rebound works with youths and adults. The organization begins working with clients 120 to 190 days before they are scheduled for reentry and begins assessing the tools they will need. These could be anger management coaching, mental health support, family reunification, employment or housing.

This level of support can have a tremendous impact when clients embrace it, according to Duckworth. One client was a young man who went to prison at age 16 and served 31 years. He was able to go back to college, find a job and give back to the community.

Another young lady, who has been in the program for three years, was reunited with her children, found steady employment and bought a vehicle, which is something Duckworth said she never believed she could do.

“A lot of times people don’t realize that these people need a second chance,” Duckworth said. “The biggest gap is understanding there is a problem of mental health. They are in this position because they have been dropped there or led there and are not getting the help that they need.”

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