Our mission: To provide supportive services to formerly incarcerated men and women in order to help them reintegrate into their communities, thereby achieving social and economic well-being and breaking the cycle of recidivism.
In 1999 Julio Medina founded Exodus Transitional Community, Inc., a grassroots organization built on the notion that individuals released from prison cannot successfully re-enter mainstream society without resources to support their transition. Throughout his own twelve year sentence, Julio constantly witnessed his peers succumb to the desperation of not being able to find employment, reconnect with their families or adapt to a changed society, despite their desire to embrace their freedom and re-create their lives without crime. He never once heard anyone say they could not wait to come back to prison; rather, he heard many say that they wanted to be good fathers and return to heal some of the damage they caused in their impoverished communities.
However, many of the men who left prison with good intentions of remaining free and leaving it in their past returned for a variety of reasons, including lack of employment opportunities, a shortage of housing, and undiagnosed substance abuse issues. Stymied by the gap in services necessary to address their transition and goals to live productive lives, they found themselves trapped in the criminal justice’s revolving door. As a result, Julio vowed to dedicate his life to breaking the cycle of recidivism through the replication of Exodus, a prison group that provided transitional services and was modeled after the Book of Exodus. Exodus chronicles the life of the Hebrews, who despite their faith did not immediately reach the Promised Land after slavery and were forced to wander through the wilderness for forty years.
Like the Hebrews, formerly incarcerated individuals expect to reach the Promised Land after they are released from Bondage. Instead, they traverse their own personal wilderness, struggling with financial and socioeconomic obstacles before they reach the land of financial stability, repair family connections and reintegrate into larger society. Thus, the mission of our organization is to provide supportive services to formerly incarcerated men and women in order to help them reintegrate into their communities, thereby achieving social and economic well-being and breaking the cycle of recidivism. Central to Exodus’s mission is the Exodus Contract, our holistic approach to re-entry which supports re-entering citizens in the six life areas we have identified as key to successful re-entry: Education, Employment, Family & Relationships, Health & Fitness, Community Involvement, and Spirituality.
In 2009 Exodus expanded its reach when it moved to its current location at 2271 Third Avenue. Exodus’s East Harlem location is conveniently situated near 125th street, a main transportation hub in Manhattan, and is easily accessible by several subways and buses. Our office location is a built-to-suit space of approximately 5,500 sq. ft. comprised of two floors of dedicated program and administrative areas that contain trainings rooms equipped with audiovisual equipment, computer labs, and common areas for group activities. Our space is consciously designed to be an open, welcoming and safe environment that fosters camaraderie, and in which we consistently promote respect for all individuals. Though we are a faith-based organization, we do not force any beliefs or activities on our participants, and people of all backgrounds are welcomed.
Today Exodus participants can enjoy a variety of transitional services including the Wilderness Program, job development, anger management and substance abuse, high school equivalency preparation, and much more. We have also expanded our services to youth and young adults through our ARCHES and Genesis programs, specially designed to meet the needs of participants in that particular season of life.
In addition to our many programs and activities, participants can take advantage of services such as on-site SNAP and Medicaid sign-up, free interview and work clothing, daily hot breakfast and lunch, special trainings on topics such as child support compliance and financial literacy, and assistance with transportation once they find employment.
In January of 2013 we were thrilled to open the doors of our second location, Exodus North, in Poughkeepsie, NY. With more than 6,000 men and women returning each year to communities in upstate New York, supportive re-entry services are needed across our great state. We are grateful for and humbled by the opportunity to provide re-entry services to citizens returning to Dutchess County at what is often the most vulnerable point in their lives.