InsideOut’s re-entry simulation gives glimpse into the daily struggles for parolees

[Source: “InsideOut’s re-entry simulation gives glimpse into the daily struggles for parolees ,” CBS2, 19 October 2017, by Gabriela Vidal]

CORALVILLE, Iowa (CBS 2/ FOX 28) — The InsideOut Re-entry program hosted its inaugural parolee simulation on Wednesday at the Kirkwood Regional Center.

Over 50 volunteers participated in the simulation. City officials, business owners, landlords and residents role-played what it would be like to live a month in the life of someone recently released from incarceration.

“Essentially, it was a frustrating process,” said Councilmember Jim Sayre. Read More

Parole simulation puts public in former inmates’ shoes

[Source: “Parole simulation puts public in former inmates’ shoes,” The Press-Citizen, 19 October 2017, by Stephen Gruber-Miller]

Every year in Johnson County, between 200 and 250 people leave prison and re-enter society.

At a parole simulation on Wednesday, more than 50 elected officials, landlords, business owners and community members got to experience that process firsthand. Read More

Iowa City re-entry program helps former inmates make the transition from prison to the outside world

[Source: “Iowa City re-entry program helps former inmates make the transition from prison to the outside world,” The Gazette, 17 September 2017, by Michaela Ramm]

IOWA CITY — Craig Rockenbach has decided to better himself.

Rockenbach, 37, of Iowa City, is a habitual offender who most recently spent 27 months in prison after being sentenced in 2016 for theft in the second degree, a Class D felony.

When he was released in mid-July, Rockenbach said he didn’t “need to be doing that anymore.” So he sought the help of an Iowa City-based program aimed at assisting prisoners recently released from Iowa’s correctional system.

The goal of the Inside Out Re-entry program is to help former offenders make a positive re-entry back into the public. Read More

Johnson County organization helping former inmates

[Source: “Johnson County organization helping former inmates,” KCRG, 5 April 2017, by Beau Bowman]

A organization in Johnson County is helping ex-cons stay out of jail. Inside Out Re-Entry held a forum Wednesday in Coralville where participants shared their story.

“I never would’ve went back if I hadn’t had those people tell me ‘hey man you can do this,'” Robert Crader said. Read More

Planting Seeds of Change: Gardening with Prisoners

[Source: “Planting Seeds of Change: Gardening with Prisoners,” Iowa Public Radio, 9 February 2017, by Lindsey Moon & Charity Nebbe]

After serving time in the corrections system, finding a job isn’t the easiest task. A new program in Johnson County is hoping more Iowans will return to the work force with the know-how to take on jobs in agriculture. Scott Koepke is education director for Grow Johnson County.

“I just started listening to people’s stories, from juvenile detention to Oakdale, and food insecurity was a part of all of them,” says Koepke. He’s been working with inmates at the Oakdale correctional facility on their five acre garden, which was producing a good yield of vegetables before Koepke started working with them. Read More

Jean Martin Community Service Award for 2017

Inside Out was honored to receive the Jean Martin Community Service Award for 2017 from the Iowa City Federation of Labor. Jean was an Iowa City activist and union member who passed away in 2011. A lovely tribute to Jean’s life is here: Read More

Inside Out offers new start, second chance

[Source: “Inside Out offers new start, second chance,” Iowa City Press-Citizen, 17 January 2017, by Andy Douglas]


In a cozy garret above a downtown Iowa City church, a group of people gathered to talk about the work they’re doing. Or would like to do.

People returning to society after being released from prison attend skills-building workshops here or confer with mentors, or can attend a spiritual seekers group, as part of the Inside Out Reentry Community. Read More

Restoring Voting Rights Panel Discussion

InsideOut Reentry Director Mike Cervantes appeared recently on the program Ethical Perspectives on the News, as part of the Restoring Voting Rights for Felons panel discussion.

What it’s like to get out of prison and have no home

[Source: “What it’s like to get out of prison and have no home,” Iowa City Press-Citizen, 22 September 2016, by Stephen Gruber-Miller]

When Letisha Molina went looking for a new apartment, she was rejected 12 times.

She had bad credit, she says, but there was another issue tripping up potential landlords: her criminal past.

Molina has been to prison twice for using and selling drugs in Arizona. She used to use crack cocaine, but Oct. 11 will mark five years of sobriety. Two years ago, she moved to Iowa City looking for a fresh start. Read More

Catholic Worker house aims to help those in need

[Source: “Catholic Worker house aims to help those in need,” Iowa City Press-Citizen, 15 August 2016, by Andy Davis]

One month after opening Iowa City’s first Catholic Worker House, a three-bedroom house on Sycamore Street that will provide up to 30 days of shelter for those in need, David Goodner said the house already is full.

Goodner, a live-in volunteer at the 1414 Sycamore Street house, at the beginning of the month officially opened the house with the help of fellow volunteer Emily Sinnwell. The two already are providing shelter to two recently-released prisoners and a single mother with two teenage sons. Read More