Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Realities of Reentry in Atlanta

April 11, 2022

Candler School of Theology is hosting a Reentry Organizations Fair on Thursday, April 21 to shed light on the realities of those who are reentering society after incarceration. Atlanta-area organizations that support returning citizens in all dimensions of reentry will join us from 12:00–2:00 p.m. in the Candler Atrium to show how we can be involved in making these transitions successful.

In 2020, 18,000 people were released from Georgia prisons, with one-quarter of them returning to the greater Atlanta area. These returning citizens are looking to live like anyone else—with decent jobs, housing, and healthcare. Yet because of their criminal records, they are often excluded from employment and housing, and may have difficulty accessing education and the right to vote.

The Reentry Organizations Fair will feature 11 organizations from around the greater Atlanta area whose goal is to enable those leaving prison to re-engage their lives. These organizations represent a variety of current reentry work, including training, housing provision, transportation assistance, social support, and advocacy on the collateral consequences of incarceration. Many of those involved in these organizations are themselves returning citizens.

To provide immediate support, Candler is collecting MARTA Breeze cards and gas cards through April 21 in amounts up to $25 to help offset transportation costs, which present a daily challenge for returning citizens. Each week they must make trips to meet with parole officers, prepare for and search for jobs, and access healthcare and other vital services. This often requires hours in transit and a significant portion of tight weekly budgets.

The Con Ed site Reentry Services/Georgia Department of Community Supervision will distribute the donated MARTA and gas cards to those who need them. Bring your card contributions to the Reentry Fair, to Carmen Toussaint’s office (RARB 433B) or arrange an electronic contribution by contacting lauren.gaia@emory.edu.

Candler has been working with those impacted by the criminal justice system for years through Contextual Education and the Certificate in Theological Studies at Lee Arrendale State Prison, and we welcome this new way to be engaged.