Former Inmate Says Nonprofit Keeps Him, Others Out of Jail

To read the full story, visit the KSDK website.

‘They probably saved my life’ | Former inmate says nonprofit keeps him, others out of jail

Derrick
Derrick Mitchell, 39, is one of about 700 people who have participated in the nonprofit’s recidivism prevention program since it opened six years ago in St. Louis County.

ST. LOUIS — Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series about Concordance Academy of Leadership, a nonprofit aimed at reducing recidivism. The next installment in the series will highlight the story of a current participant. You can read the first part here.

Derrick Mitchell was nearing the end of a 10-year prison sentence when a member of the Concordance Academy of Leadership approached him with an opportunity:

Participate in an 18-month program and your chances of ending up back in prison could be reduced by as much as 44%.

“I was just going through the motions, just trying to survive like every day within there,” he recalled. “And then I was approached with this opportunity and it was like the best day that ever happened to me, the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Mitchell, 39, is one of about 700 people who have participated in the nonprofit’s recidivism prevention program since it opened six years ago in St. Louis County. It’s run by retired Wells Fargo Advisors CEO Danny Ludeman, who crafted the program so it could be replicated in any city in the country.

A $50 million fundraising campaign is underway to open branches of the nonprofit in 11 more cities across the country, and he recently got state funding in Missouri.

The program’s success is attracting interest from experts like John Roman — a senior fellow in the Economics, Justice and Society Group at the National Opinion Research Center, or NORC as it’s often called. It’s one of the largest independent social research organizations in the country and it’s based at the University of Chicago.

“Concordance participants do substantially and significantly better than people who are returned to society under a business-as-usual sort of setup, where they just come back and they get some help, but they don’t get the intensive wraparound support that Concordance offers,” Roman said.

Concordance paid NORC to study their effectiveness. Roman compared Concordance participants against those who did not receive services who were released between May 1, 2018 through Aug. 31, 2019 to St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County.

To read the full story, visit the KSDK website.

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