Justice-involved individuals face a lot of hurdles when building a pathway to a second chance. Access to basic technology should not be one of them.
That’s why Dismas House of St. Louis, a nonprofit organization that has been helping individuals transition from incarceration back into society since 1959, recently purchased eight new computers and two printers for its computer lab, which is available to its clients to access email and other technology applications to help them secure housing, employment and education. By providing access to these tools, Dismas House helps individuals become more self-sufficient and successful in the reintegration process.
Essential benefits from technology: Employment, education, housing
Staying current with today’s technology is essential for clients to navigate the process of reentering their local communities. For example, information about employment opportunities and housing is only readily accessible online. Clients must be able to search online job boards and employment websites to easily find job postings that match their skills and experience. They also need to apply online for jobs. This is an essential need, as many employers require applications to be submitted online.
“Rapid advances in technology makes investing in new equipment vital,” said John House, Dismas House of St. Louis program director. “Updating the computer lab will give our clients critical access to digital resources that will help them succeed.”
Similarly, clients can use online search tools to find housing options that meet their needs and preferences. They can browse through available listings, compare prices and amenities and contact property owners or managers directly. This saves them time and gives clients a greater sense of control over their housing search process.
Dismas House has also identified organizations that offer tuition-free or tuition-deferred programs in the field of information technology. This can prepare clients to work in various technical fields in addition to providing them with the skills they need to succeed in today’s job market. To get the most value from these classes, clients need to be able to access and train on current technology, especially if attending classes virtually or in a hybrid format.\
With access to current versions of word processing programs, clients can send professional-caliber resumes and cover letters, schedule interviews, follow up on job applications and schedule housing visits. Making online interactions and communications more professional and timely greatly improves the client’s chances of success in securing employment or housing.
Computers and online search tools have revolutionized the way justice-involved individuals search for and secure housing, employment and education. The continuing investment made by Dismas House of St. Louis in its computer lab provides clients with access to state-of-the art tools that can increase their chances of success in the reintegration process.
The commitment to providing a current technology lab is just one example of how Dismas House of St. Louis continues to evolve in the way it carries on the 60-plus year tradition of its founder, Father Dismas Clark, to help justice-involved individuals successfully return home to their family, friends and local community.