According to recent statistics, 67% of formerly incarcerated men are re-arrested within three years. Our next guest’s organization however, has found a way to reduce that number significantly. Mike Switzer interviews Leah Rhyne, director of marketing and communications at Turning Leaf, a Charleston nonprofit expanding soon to Columbia, SC.
When I hear household names like George Floyd, Walter Scott and Alton Sterling, I don’t land on the grisly videos of their killings or the fates of the police officers who ended their lives.
I think about their children.
Police murdered my father three decades ago, when I was 8. As his son, I know firsthand how losing a parent this way can derail a family for generations. I can still see these deaths through the eyes of the youngest victims.
Keep reading this essay by Turning Leaf Implementation Specialist Aulzue “Blue” Fields.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is: “focus on what you can control.” It’s humbling to recognize how much happens in life that I have no control of. Instead of wanting things to be different – the way I want them to be, the way I expect them to be – I try to let go and accept things as they are. This practice helps me to not get overly angry and anxious by circumstances I can’t influence, like other people and external events. It’s also a powerful reminder that my actions are fully in my own control. By staying focused on my daily choices, I feel more grounded and am an all-around happier person.
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Amy Barch didn’t set out to become the director of a nonprofit, but she’s really good at it.
In fact, Barch just might change the world.
Six years ago, she opened the Turning Leaf Project with the wildly ambitious goal of keeping violent felons from returning to a life of crime after prison. And that’s important. Law enforcement officials will tell you that recidivism is one of the country’s biggest problems.
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“Change is really hard, even under the best circumstances. People leaving prison attempt to change their whole lives with the cards stacked against them.”
So writes Turning Leaf Founder and Executive Director Amy Barch in an article published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) on July 7, 2021. The article, A Better Way to Keep People from Going Back to Prison, takes a look at what works at Turning Leaf and other re-entry organizations around the country with particular focus on the different ways Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is incorporated into the most successful programs.
While this is Barch’s first professional publication, it is by no means the first time she’s written about the challenges of re-entry. Since entering the field of prison reform in her early 20s, she’s spent countless hours researching and writing about the topic. The bespoke curriculum at Turning Leaf, which uses 25 life skills like “Setting Boundaries” and “Asking for Help,” was created by Barch. She has also written extensively about the early successes (and failures) of Turning Leaf at her blog.
“It’s an honor to be published,” says Barch. “It’s a validation of all the hard work we’ve done at Turning Leaf. When you launch a nonprofit with a clinical component, you have to be willing to change and grow. We’ve done that, and now that we’re putting in the work to prove our program is able to replicate and scale, it’s wonderful to have our accomplishments acknowledged by a journal like SSIR.”
Read full article at SSIR