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Our Third House Makes The Path To New Lives Even Better

A surprising number of our donors and volunteers have supported Oaks of Righteousness since Day One.  We want to take some time to let people know what that support has made possible. 

The recidivism rate is shockingly high for most women inmates; two out of every three women who leave prison will reoffend within five years. However, because that our supporters have helped create at Oaks of Righteousness, not a single woman who has graduated from the Oaks of Righteousness has returned to prison since 2018. 

Our name is our mission: Oaks of Righteousness, from Isaiah 61:3, planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Oaks begin as acorns and, with protection and nourishment, they become mighty trees. We started out eleven years ago with nothing but a commitment to provide a nurturing environment and guidance to women who leave prison with have a desire to change their lives.

In 2023, we took a big step forward in creating a sustainable process that refines and improves on our approach. We added our third house, which gives us more room and the ability to accept more women into the program.  But it does far more than that for the women who have chosen to make the journey from the hopelessness of prison to freedom in faith.  Oaks now has a clearly defined path from incarceration to true independence.

The change has been dramatic. It’s worth taking some time to explain how oaks is evolving. We’ve combined our own experience with Oaks and with other model programs to meet the unique needs of formerly incarcerated women:

  • Faith that allows our women to see their innate value;

  • Family that was missing in their lives and they find in the other women, our staff and our volunteers;

  • Structure that allows them to take on more responsibility and independence as soon as they are ready for it;

  • Support to have affordable housing and other services as they prepare for their futures; and

  • Recovery and healing through regular participation in the Celebrate Recovery program.       

The process looks like this:

Two of the biggest changes that have occurred in the last two years are:

We’ve strengthened our connection to women while they are still incarcerated. Our staff and volunteers go into prisons on a regular basis with programs like Jubilee and now we are leading bible studies for inmate. Women who are in the Oaks program return to prison to share their experience and they write to the inmates who have been accepted into the program after release, so the newcomers already feel like part of the family. The level of interest in Oaks after release has never been higher and it allows us to vet women long before they leave. 

Our third house lets more women work on their educations and careers.  Housing instability is one of the leading reasons former inmates slip back into behaviors that lead to recidivism. High rent costs can also make it almost impossible for them to seek the educational or training opportunities that allow them to advance their careers. Many of our women choose to graduate from our program after a year and go out on their own to jobs, return to families and start the next chapter of their lives. Others want to improve their skills and educations. With the third house, we have more flexibility to allow them to pursue their dreams while still having the structure and reduced living costs they need to thrive.

2024 promises to be a year of growth and transformation.  Our thanks to everyone who has made our program successful.

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