Did you know that one in six people in Ohio have a felony history?
One in 175 people in Ohio are currently incarcerated.
And, approximately 2,100 people return to the local Akron area community from incarceration every year.
Our clients are your neighbors.
Since 2004, we’ve been helping people successfully return from incarceration
to a purpose-driven life as contributing members of our community,
through our 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Our ministry is based on Restorative Justice; a collaborative relationship with the judicial system that supports our clients through restoration of identity, faith, work, health, relationships and hope. Broken Chains Ministry provides a multilevel mentoring experience for every client that includes each of the key elements of Restorative Justice.
Key Elements of Restorative Justice
- Identity Restoration
- Faith Centered Programs
- Work Force Development
A Barna Research, Prison Fellowship and New York University study found that most former offenders who are mentored will never commit a crime again.
Having a trusted mentor can help restore a sense of personhood by connecting our clients to the world. In addition to our experienced staff and volunteers, successful clients often help to reassure, support and guide others through the process with strength, clarity, empathy and understanding.
Work Force Development - Community Impact
Our award-winning Urbean Cafe workforce development program is a successful social business venture that has contributed more than $2.75 million dollars to the local economy since 2011.*
Clients Give Back
With consistent income, participants are able to reinvest in the community through:
- Payment of restitution including fines, court costs and child support
- Contribution to federal, state and local income taxes
- Securing and maintaining housing
- Renewal of identification, drivers license, auto insurance and vehicle purchase
- Support of local grocers, retailers, utilities, health care and other service providers
Home Ownership Program
Launched in 2015, BCM’s home ownership program provides the opportunity for successful clients to own a home that they’ve helped renovate. Eligible program applicants must pay all fines and restitution in full, fulfill all probation or parole, provide a down payment, and be pre-qualified for a loan to apply.
“It is amazing to come home every day to a home that’s mine,” said Joy Rios, the program’s first successful homeowner. “It was a lot of hard work, but we had help from generous volunteers, laborers and donors. It’s a beautiful thing. And, if I can do it, anyone can do it." Rios encourages other BCM clients to work hard, create a budget and make the sacrifices needed to become eligible for the program.
Saving Ohio Taxpayers Money
The average felony relapse rate for former offenders is around 50% within the first three years of release, but for Urbean Cafe participants of 90 days or more, it’s less than 1% – saving Ohio taxpayers an average of $25K per year for every empty state penitentiary bed.
Faith – The Heart of Our Mission
- We share our faith through weekly services
- We build relationships with visitation programs
- We offer bible study and reflection
- We support individual faith sharing through small groups
- Our mentors visit weekly with men in Summit County Jail and women in the Clifford Skeen Community Based Women’s Correctional Facility prior to release
Advocacy and Our Community Collaborative
Once a client has satisfied his or her sentence and has completed any legal or court ordered requirements for release, we serve as advocates by assisting them in connecting with relevant members of a community collaborative offering a variety of services necessary to reenter society. With other faith-based and social service organizations, and with the support of our Partners we work toward a common goal to ensure a positive reentry process, reduce relapse and increase public safety.
We assist clients with the restoration of identity and a reconnection with our community by assisting them with:
- Restoring state identification and/or driver’s license
- Obtaining a new birth certificate and social security card
- Establishing a bank account
- Making restitution payments