(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that, beginning Monday, April 29, returning citizens recently released from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will be able to access services at the newly opened READY (Resources to Empower and Develop You) Center. Earlier this year, the Mayor opened the READY Center as a one-stop shop where formerly incarcerated District residents can access critical post-release services such as housing and employment assistance and get connected to educational and health care supports and opportunities. Through the READY Center, returning citizens can also obtain vital documents and get connected to programs for substance use disorder and mental health aftercare.
“The READY Center is about being more intentional in how we set our returning citizens and their families up for success,” said Mayor Bowser. “In expanding access to the READY Center to returning citizens from the Bureau of Prisons, we can reduce barriers and provide more residents with the meaningful second chance they need to live healthy, happy lives in our community.”
Until now, the READY Center has only been available to inmates released from Department of Corrections (DOC) custody. Under the Revitalization Act of 1997, all local DC Code felons are housed by the BOP, and, annually, between 1,800 to 2,200 individuals are released from the BOP to the District. Currently, the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs (MORCA) assists residents returning from BOP with accessing services and supports at multiple DC Government agencies. At the READY Center, however, these resources are streamlined, thus reducing the need to travel to multiple District offices.
Currently, within 30 days prior to an inmate’s release, he or she will fill out an interest card to identify his or her post-release needs. Upon release, returning citizens participate in a one-time visit to the READY Center (the same day as their release or the next business day). The READY Center connects participants with MORCA, community-based organizations, and other DC Government agencies for ongoing case management, and all follow-up visits are handled at the respective agency.
MORCA and the DOC have worked together to develop a referral system for BOP inmates so that residents can access services at the READY Center within 45 days of their release. Beginning Monday, April 29, the READY Center will service this BOP population on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. While this expansion of the READY Center services is focused on recently returned residents from BOP, MORCA will remain the hub for returning citizens and continue to provide extended case management for all returning citizens, regardless of when they returned home.