We Serve Native American WomenObjective Red Lodge Transition Services is a non-profit grass roots organization supported by volunteers who have experience working with men and women in prison. Our primary objective is to assist Native men and women who are ready to transition from prison, jail, and treatment back to community. Creating a realistic plan for transition can be very stressful! There are many obstacles and barriers each person, family and community must navigate through in order to be successful. Red Lodge Transition Services is working to identify barriers and help prepare people for successful re-entry.
Successful transition depends on meeting spiritual, mental, emotional and physical needs. It is a complex process which takes place between the individual, family and community. Major emotional, spiritual and physical adjustments are made within the first thirty days of re-entry. How is it possible for positive change to occur when basic survivor needs such as housing, employment, legal identification, transportation, food and emotional support are not available? There are many elements associated with creating and sustaining a successful transition program.
Native people are experiencing an all time high in regard to incarceration, especially our youth. Unfortunately, many families have already experienced the negative effects of incarceration. The individual’s life, the lives of their loved ones, and the lives of those connected to the crime have forever been altered. The majority of Native women in prison have children under the age of eighteen. This creates additional social and psychological issues which must be addressed.
Statistical information supports the harsh reality that Native Americans are severely over-represented in our modern day judicial system. Native Americans represent less than 2% of the total population, yet comprise almost 4% of the Oregon prison population. In Oregon prisons, Native American women are more over-represented than Native men. One out of every 30 Native people in Oregon currently has some connection to the corrections system as a victim or an offender. Native people are more than twice as likely to be victims of violent crime, and Native Americans are more likely than people of other races to be victims of violence from a person of a different race. Most crimes are connected with substance abuse.
It’s difficult to express how this project began, or how people involved directly in creating this Organization managed to come together. The concept of creating a functional network of people and resources accessible to Native individuals returning to their communities from local jails and prisons is not a new idea. The creation and implementation of a formal program has required us to educate ourselves on many different levels.
We respectively recognize and give credit to every individual who has shared their knowledge and experiences with us during this journey. The creation of Red Lodge Transition Services is a group effort. It is a network of people who truly believe that one person can make a difference, and that collectively we are capable of greatness. We believe the transition process should be viewed as an opportunity for individuals, families and communities to effectively make change. Prevention of incarceration and recidivism (re-incarceration) of Native people is an essential part of community healing. Prevention is a responsibility which belongs to all of us.