Reentry Legal Services Program
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At Legal Action, we believe all people deserve access to basic human needs, like healthcare and safe housing, but many people face significant barriers that would be difficult to navigate without legal help. These barriers are particularly steep at reentry. Reentry refers to the time period when people are being released from incarceration and returning to their communities. This time is often fraught with complications to finding housing and employment, as well as difficulty accessing essential services and resources. These challenges are multiplied for the many individuals involved in the criminal justice system who have a mental health condition or physical impairment.
The Reentry Legal Services Program represents incarcerated people as they approach their release from prison. We assist in applying for disability, health care and other public benefits. In doing so, we seek to increase our clients’ economic stability, provide them with access to health care, and reduce homelessness, relapses of criminal behavior and other negative outcomes. We receive referrals through the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and work with clients prior to and after their release into the community. If you have questions about this program, please contact Director Katie Alft.
The Reentry Legal Services Program was formerly known as the Disabled Offender Economic Security (DOES) Project. We recognize many people in prison are survivors of trauma or crime themselves. We seek to break down the false dichotomy of being labeled as only “victim” or “offender.” This binary narrative can dehumanize and stigmatize formerly incarcerated people and prevent them from healing and accessing services that they need. The Reentry Legal Services Program looks to empower formerly incarcerated people and give them a path forward as they build a stable life outside of prison.