School of Professional Studies

Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Capstone

Department

School of Professional Studies

Chief Instructor

Stephanie Medden

Abstract

This capstone report provides a written strategic implementation plan for EPOCA House. EPOCA, Ex-Prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement, is a non-profit dedicated to creating better resources and opportunities for prisoners and ex-prisoners in Worcester. The organization’s most recent initiative, EPOCA House, is a transitional facility that will provide reentry services and temporary housing to ex-offenders in and around the Worcester area. Recently, Massachusetts passed a comprehensive criminal justice reform bill that will dramatically reduce the number of people being incarcerated; however, little attention is focused on what will happen to individuals after they leave prison. At the same time, funding for halfway houses and reentry programs have decreased across the country and there are very few adequate services offered for ex-offenders in the city. To address this need, Yoshada Kwaning, the Community Outreach Director at EPOCA came up with the idea for EPOCA House Inc. While EPOCA staff members have extensive knowledge about the needs of prison population, they lacked the time and resources to create a strategic action plan to implement their vision. This report employs a secondary data analysis methodology to compare ex-prisoner reentry programs across four specialization areas: education programming, vocational training, wellness programs, and sustainability initiatives. This report also draws on advice from experts and local practitioners in the field, who provide valuable insight into criminal justice issues in Worcester. Transcripts of these interviews can be found in the appendices.

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