Second Chance Month: How Oasis Center is Developing Careers and People

For many who are released from incarceration, a strong support system can be the difference between staying out of prison or becoming another recidivism statistic.

Studies from the National Institute of Justice show most formerly incarcerated individuals will be rearrested in the years following their release. One study showed “within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6%) of released prisoners were rearrested.”

The cards are stacked against a successful re-entry after incarceration.

Many leave prison without the resources they need to rejoin their communities – support systems are lacking, relationships are broken and finding steady work can be near impossible.

Those realities weigh heavily on the recently released, especially the task of finding work with a felony conviction.

This is where Oasis Center comes in.

Job and life skills training

Oasis Center started in Dallas, Texas to serve a very specific group – First Time Youth Offenders. Through providing legal assistance and job training, Oasis hoped to intervene early in young offenders’ lives to stop recidivism before it happened.

Oasis has since expanded their mission to include older formerly incarcerated individuals, helping hundreds along the way. Their programs include life planning, financial literacy classes, workforce development and training, GED programs and job placement.

Breaking internal barriers

But Oasis Center isn’t just focused on breaking the external barriers to successful re-entry; they’re focused on the whole person.

The center provides spiritual support, addiction recovery plans and relationship training to rebuild individuals and families. They also offer peer-to-peer coaching so participants can share experiences and struggles with someone who truly understands.

So far, these methods seem to be working.

While the national recidivism rate five years after release sits at 76.6%, Oasis says their participants’ recidivism rate is lower than 10%.

Oasis Center has given formerly incarcerated persons in Dallas a second chance at a healthy and productive life.

Read about other organizations working to break the cycle of recidivism.