According to the 2016 edition of the Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin, 683,106 prisoners were released in the United States by the end of 2015. Of those 683,106 individuals, it is probable that the majority of them faced the same conflicts when trying to reestablish their lives. These issues include hardship in gaining employment, inability to secure public assistance, difficulties in gaining respect in their communities, and simply knowing where to start in the struggle to rebuild. With today’s struggling economy, these issues have only intensified, thus making the re-emergence into society even more difficult for newly released individuals. It is the realism of these problems that led the way to the development of The Life Transition Project.
The Life Transition Project, Inc was founded in 2008 by Toni Tenniel Thomas, an Atlanta resident. CEO of the company, Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and is currently in pursuit of her Ph.D. in psychology. She has worked in the social service industry in various capacities for many years. Through these positions, Thomas developed a passion for helping others overcome their misfortunes and obstacles. The creation of The Life Transition Project is a culmination of this desire and Thomas’ first-hand look at how friends and family members struggled to persevere in a society which shuns former prisoners and makes it challenging for them to move on and move past their transgressions. As such, this social service program is dedicated to providing inmates who are soon to be released with the skills and resources they need upon re-entering society.
Four Phase Program
The Life Transition Project operates via a four-phase curriculum, designed to focus on important aspects of re-entry into society.
Phase I: During the initial stage of the program, offenders are linked with a counselor who will help assess their needs in order for the two of them to create a plan of action, including professional and personal goals. This stage lasts approximately one month.
Phase II: Once a rough outline of the offender’s plan of action has been made, the counselor then works with the individual to assure that attainable and realistic goals are being set and deadlines are being made. During this stage, the individual begins to formulate the “how” of the plan, meaning he/she determines how they are going to achieve the goals set forth. Once the “hows” have been established, the offender is then expected to begin executing their plan. This stage lasts approximately three months.
Phase III: At this point, the transitioning individual should be clear on what it is he/she needs to accomplish in order to re-enter society successfully. Now, the counselor assists with providing the offender with the resources necessary to accomplish their goals. This includes, but is not limited to, assisted job searches, financial advisement, and placement in educational programs. Counselors with The Life Transition Project also invest in the individual’s personal needs such as family planning and fundamental life skills. This stage lasts approximately seven months.
Phase IV: Well into completing their plan, the individual is now expected to actively give back to the community in which they are soon to re-emerge into. Community service is mandated by The Life Transition Project. Additionally, counselors work with their clients to become registered voters. It is the program’s belief that their clients should become respectable, self-sufficient citizens who give back to society and gain the privileges and rights due to them as equal citizens. This final stage lasts approximately one month.
Dedicated to making sure transitioning individuals are treated fairly and are equipped with the right tools to fit their individual needs, The Life Transition Project intends to make a great difference in regional and national communities.