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

A second look for an untapped Eastern Iowa workforce

[Source: “A second look for an untapped Eastern Iowa workforce,” The Gazette, 14 August 2016, by Trish Mehaffey]

Rob Crader says growing up in violent Chicago neighborhood and being around “gang-banging and hustling” led to a career of drug abuse, and then selling drugs and committing robberies and thefts to support that addiction.

Crader, now 42, of Coralville, who had been in and out of Illinois prisons for the last 10 years, now is on a new career and life path after his last crime — burglary — garnered him a 12-year prison sentence. Read More

Winner’s Circle Picnic

Amazing and wonderful visit to Winner’s Circle picnic on Saturday, July 30! It was held at Ashby Park in Des Moines. Inside Out Reentry is grateful for the chance to attend. There was incredible spirit, positive energy, food and just lots of fun.

This event is for women who have been thru the STAR and WISH programs at ICIW(Iowa Correctional Institution for Women located in Mitchellville) and their guests. Women from the minimum live-out unit attended as well as Winner’s Circles from around the state. Read More

Facility helps former inmates get back on their feet

[Source: “Facility helps former inmates get back on their feet,” Iowa City Press-Citizen, 4 April 2016, by Dick Hakes]

One year after opening its resource center at First Baptist Church in Iowa City, the Inside Out Reentry Community serving formerly incarcerated people living in Johnson County is gaining ground.

Inside Out hired its first paid director, Mike Cervantes, in January and secured legal 501(c)3 nonprofit status last month. It is serving 15 participants at present, has a core volunteer support group of 30 and its drop-in resource center bustles with positive activity. Read More

Criminal Justice Reform Discussion Group

Inside Out will continue our community discussions on Criminal Justice Reform with a DVD series — beginning this Thursday, Oct. 29 at 7:00 at First Baptist (500 N. Clinton; in the basement community room). We’ll watch the 2009 PBS documentary “The Released” that shows how several returning citizens with mental illness handle their return to the community after incarceration. About 1/3 of people in U.S. prisons have a serious, chronic mental illness.

Just Mercy Reading Group

We’ve had 2 great discussions on the first half of Bryan Stevenson’s book Just Mercy so far and will have 2 more meetings to discuss the last half — on Thursdays, Sept. 24 and Oct. 1, at 7:00 p.m. We meet in the basement of First Baptist Church, 500 N. Clinton, where the IO center is located upstairs. We hear from folks who have been on the “inside”, discuss local and national issues of racial disparity in the justice system, and more. Join us for this important conversation! We’ll also host a discussion — with pizza! — one half-hour following the end of Stevenson’s talk at IMU on Oct. 4.

Just Mercy Book Group

Inside Out Reentry will participate in Iowa City’s One Community, One Book program as part of its work for criminal justice education and reform. Inside Out invites the public to join in a discussion group on Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy on four Thursdays at 7:00 p.m., Sept. 10 – Oct. 1, prior to Stevenson’s talk at the Iowa Memorial Union on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 2:00 p.m. Read More

Bryan Stevenson Talk on Just Mercy

The UI Center for Human Rights, UNESCO City of Literature/Iowa City Book Festival and Geneva Lecture Series, along with Prairie Lights Books are bringing Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy, to the IMU on October 4 to give a lecture.

Bryan Stevenson is an attorney in Montgomery, Alabama who started a nonprofit group, the Equal Justice Initiative,, soon after finishing law school. This organization works with death penalty cases, race and poverty issues, children in prison, and mass incarceration. Just Mercy is primarily the story of Walter McMillian who was put on death row for a crime he did not commit and the six year effort by Bryan and others to eventually prove that he was unjustly accused and imprisoned.

Inside Out will be collaborating to hold book discussions open to the public – it’s in the works!