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Home : Services : Disabled Offenders Economic Security (DOES) Project

Disabled Offenders Economic Security (DOES) Project

The DOES Project provides mentally disabled ex-offenders with the support they need to stay out of prison once they're released.

Nobody who’s been released from prison wants to go back.

But many ex-offenders run into problems in the outside world that can lead them right back in. They land in communities where they have no family or friends, no place to stay, no job and no idea how to find one. They don't know how to connect with social services that could help them find shelter, food and legitimate employment.

Too often they become jobless, homeless, and desperate.

These problems are even worse for ex-offenders with mental or physical disabilities, who need even more help making a successful transition to life beyond prison walls.

Legal Action’s Disabled Offenders Economic Security Project (DOES) offers that extra help to disabled ex-offenders, to give them a better chance of staying out of trouble and staying out of prison.

As a disabled offender's release date draws near, the state Department of Corrections refers them to Legal Action's DOES Project. Lawyers assigned to the project work with social workers, community corrections agents and other Department of Corrections staff to ensure that once released, the ex-offenders will receive all of the benefits for which they’re eligible, including SSI/SSDI, healthcare -- including medications -- FoodShare and W-2 or other employment training programs.

With more economic security, these ex-offenders will be less likely to become homeless and unemployed, and are less likely to commit new crimes.

The DOES Project:

  • Is funded by a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections as part of the Becky Young Appropriation/Reentry Initiative.
  • Works in the 14 Wisconsin state prisons that have the highest numbers of inmates with serious mental illnesses and/or developmental disabilities.
  • Has developed a unique working arrangement with the Social Security Administration and the Disabilities Determination Bureau that reduces SSI/SSDI application processing time and increases success rates.  

For more information, please contact the DOES Project via our Oshkosh office.