"RISE" newspaper looks to connect inmates with services to succeed
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Tracy Brumfield started the newspaper "RISE" last year to fill a need. The need for local inmates to have a place to find the resources they need once they're released.
Tracy knows because she's been there. Brumfield's been clean for years but she did time for heroin possession.
Brumfield was selected for a year-long $100,000 grant. The paper was initially only given to inmates in the Hamilton County Jail.
"RISE has the ability to reach people where they're at that no other agency can do," Brumfield said.
Brumfield said the paper was okayed to be given out in several other jails across the area.
She said she created RISE to connect folks being released from jail with the resources that could help them succeed. It includes listings for social services and other groups to help.
"On your own, out there, trying to connect to the different kinds of things you might need can be very frustrating. I often say, 'I had a bachelor's degree and it was difficult for me to navigate the social services system," Brumfield said.
The paper also features artwork and stories from current and former inmates and success stories from folks who've made it after jail.
What you won't find in the paper are advertisements.
"It could have a negative impact on the authenticity of who we are and why we're doing this. We're not doing this to make money," Brumfield said.
Brumfield said she needs the help of the community to keep it going. She wants it to be bigger and better and expand outside the area.
"The support of the community is, it will turn the tide in whether we continue to RISE," Brumfield said.
Brumfield says other cities are reaching out, asking for RISE to come to them because of the success she's seen so far.
"That was always the long-term goal for RISE. [It] was to transition to the resource guide into an insert, That would be the local and regional information whereas RISE proper, would be applicable to whatever facility you're in, whether it's in California, New York or Cincinnati," Brumfield said.
Tracy does more than put together the paper. She spends time in front of the Hamilton Co. Jail waiting for people being released at least once a month.
"And ask them what they need. Do you have a safe place to go? Do you have a way to get there? And did you get RISE? Did you find it helpful?"
Brumfield hands out some small items to help people coming out, including bus tokens.
"Imagine if we could increase that and offer phones with service that had all our resources already programmed in," Brumfield said.