Thousands of individuals are released from prison and jail annually. They rejoin society faced not only with the stigma of incarceration, but with over 44,000 legal barriers to success reintegration. From employment and housing to financial stability and family reunification, these barriers set up the formerly incarcerated for failure rather than success.
Root & Rebound (R&R) is a re-entry legal resource center that advances second chance opportunities for some of the most marginalized individuals and families in America today — people impacted by the criminal justice system and mass incarceration. Recognizing that criminal records are both a cause and consequence of poverty, R&R works to break this cycle and increase opportunity and equity for all.
Root & Rebound uses legal education, support services, and policy advocacy to reach people with criminal records, their families, and communities. They work with both the individual and the larger re-entry infrastructure, including community based organization, government agencies, and employers to provide comprehensive and holistic education and support. By providing the critical tools and information that people need to overcome legal and practical barriers to reentry, R&R is able to help people meet their basic needs in employment, housing, and education.
The need for R&R’s services is tremendous, and it is only growing. Across the United States, 650,000 people leave prison each year, with millions more coming out of county jails. Within three years, 50 percent will be homeless, 60 percent will be unemployed, and 67 percent will be re-arrested. Today, Root & Rebound is the only group of its kind offering innovative, state- and nation-wide tools and legal resources to millions in need.
Katherine Katcher, founder & executive director of Root & Rebound, is deeply driven by the desire to push for and create equity in society, and the belief that where you come from, the color of your skin, and the amount of money in your bank account should not determine your access to justice and opportunity.
Through her work in indigent defense and prison law, Katherine encountered the many ways the justice system fails the incarcerated and their families. She witnessed the cycles of poverty, over-policing, and over-incarceration that led people to spend time in prison and jail. Upon the release, having a criminal record often means unfair obstacles to employment, housing, education, family reunification, and more.
Over 44,000 federal, state, and local laws restrict people with a history of conviction, haunting individuals and their families — who are disproportionately poor and people of color — for the rest of their lives. These barriers make the process of re-entry overwhelming for the individual and come with large, mounting social and economic costs to families, communities, and wider society.
That is why Katherine envisioned a disruptive model of change with the power to transform individuals, families, and communities. Believing that education empowers, Root & Rebound works to create broad-scale solutions, including their groundbreaking resource, the “Roadmap to Reentry” guide, to transfer knowledge and skills about the criminal justice system to those who need it most.
Root & Rebound is a 2016 S+ Catalyst. As a member of the Catalyst, Root & Rebound is benefiting from tailored support, expertise, and training with industry experts and consultants from the Stand Together team on a range of topics including organizational development, branding, measurement and growth, and strategic relationships. With Stand Together’s partnership, Root & Rebound is well-positioned to amplify its impact in California and to expand its work across the United States to meet the large and growing need for re-entry implementation on a broad scale.