Our UTG program is accessible to incarcerated individuals seven days a week and we don’t exclude anyone. Our staff were all incarcerated themselves: we have first-hand knowledge about the challenges people face when they leave prison. All people have to do is call are office and do a telephone interview outlining their health goals what they need help with. People inside prison feel safe and understood while forming a trusting relationship with us; most incarcerated individuals who have had a hard time trusting others. We come alongside them with compassion, empathy, and a caring heart; we have been there. We listen to their fears and hopes for release, we help connect them to the right resources, and we help them to create a safe release plan.
The UTG peer health mentor program helps people who leave prison feel safe and supported. They are also supported to achieve their own health and social goals. Being able to connect people with a peer health mentor who has prison experience gives individuals hope that they too can beat the cycle of incarceration and addiction. Also, they tell us that they take the UTG invitation letter that they received from us with them when they leave prison, and they use the letter as a lifeline if they get in trouble or need support in the community. Individuals can contact us if they have been out in the community for a while and need support.
Many people coming out of prison need help with food, shelter, medication, and clothing the day they get released. Incarcerated individuals have a higher chance to going back to substance use, and overdosing and dying, if they have no support and resources upon leaving prison. Going back to the streets is the easiest option for someone who has nowhere else to go.
Our program is assisting people to connect with the health and community resources that they have identified that they need, which can give them their best chance of ending the cycle of abuse. Generations of families are being affected by addiction, trauma, and crime and UTG is giving them the hope, purpose, and the support to end the revolving door.