Restoring Promise, an initiative of the Vera Institute of Justice and MILPA, works with prisons and jails to address the root causes and consequences of mass incarceration in how it manifests in prisons and jails. We work directly with prisons and jails to transform the culture, climate, rhythms and routines that define the prison system, starting with young adults. Young adults are “mentees” who participate in meaningful daily activities, deepen their connection to their culture and healing, cultivate an ideology of self-determination, and restore relationships with family and community. Mentors (people over the age of 25) support them in their personal growth. Staff undergo intensive training to become agents of change in support of this mission.

We believe that we can begin to bring the prison reform movement to a critical tipping point: within each housing unit, prison, and state we have worked in, we hear incarcerated people, corrections staff, and agency leadership reflect “we can’t and won’t go back.” Our goal is nothing short of igniting that sentiment into a wave led by incarcerated people and line staff.

Project Objectives

  • Vera is designing a new practice model for incarcerated young adults that prioritizes family engagement, self-expression, peer support, personal growth and development, education, and career readiness.

  • Vera will support the Connecticut DOC in the implementation of the new model for young adults.

  • The partnership will enhance the ways in which Connecticut DOC partners with young people, family, and community in the design, implementation, and ongoing operations of the model.