By intent and design, Touch A Heart primarily serves justice-involved individuals at the pretrial stage. This means they come to us before sentencing and prison. You might be wondering why we choose to intervene at this point, and we're glad you asked.
At Touch A Heart, our goal is to break the cycle of recidivism, which refers to a person's relapse into criminal behavior, typically after they're released from prison. We've learned that the best way to reduce the likelihood of recidivism is to work with these individuals before they go to prison, and we're able to do so because of U.S. Pretrial Services.
Pretrial service agencies aim to reduce 1) crime by those released to the community pending trial and 2) unnecessary, costly pretrial detention. Pretrial officers are involved in the criminal justice process from the time a person is arrested on a federal charge until they complete community supervision. We're grateful to work hand-in-hand with pretrial officers to provide essential support at this stage.
Our unique approach has resulted in over 130 graduates from our program, 95% of whom find and maintain long-term employment. Our graduate and current apprentice Severino shared the impact we've had on his life: "The life I have now—it is much more better than those 40 years I was using. This the best two years of my entire life that I have."
Through Touch A Heart, our interns and apprentices also build strong foundations and positive community connections before they're sentenced and serve their time, which is crucial to their success. Imprisonment can be very damaging, and the longer the sentence, the more difficult it is to get back on track. That's due in part to how easy it is to fall into old habits and develop negative perceptions. One way we're able to curb this is with your letters and emails, which our graduates cling to for hope.
Thank you for helping us to make these transformations possible and for the role you play in ensuring every heart we touch feels loved, cared for, and accepted.