About -> About Darby
Hi! I'm Darby
I just graduated with my B.A. in Sociology and concentrations in Social Work and Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In May 2023 I'll graduate with a Master's in Public Policy also from UMass.
I'm really passionate about working with the justice-involved population, expanding reentry programs and other services for justice-involved people, and making governments more accountable to the communities they serve.
I see community-based reentry programs and bringing the community in to change the way corrections and local criminal justice systems operate as a strong foundation for criminal justice reform on a much broader scale. This website is my way to contribute!
Why did I build this website?
Largely, the idea for this website came out of my personal experience working with reentry in Upstate NY. Starting in November 2020 I had the opportunity to intern at the ABLE case management program at Warren County Jail. I got to talk to a few other people working in reentry programs in the area working with their local jail population. In these conversations, learning about their programs and how they built them, I realized people working in different counties were not communicating with each other enough. Sometimes two people were struggling with the same problem entirely on their own, only looking at it from their very local perspective, and they only worked 30 minutes away from each other. Cross-county collaboration was so lacking, but it could have been super helpful to expand the ability to reach people, to solve problems, and to strengthen programs. Where I did see cross-county collaboration and communication, it was incredibly helpful for developing a plan, understanding and meeting needs in the community, and building support from the jail. On the flip side, I also heard from everyone how important community connections and collaborations were to every single program! Community meetings, task forces, reentry groups, and cross-agency collaboration were vital both to the creation of every program, and to their everyday success. I decided I wanted create something that would connect reentry programs across New York State and share the information about what they look like and how they were built that could help others.
This website in the context of criminal justice reform
I envision concrete, local change, in the form of reentry programs, as a foundation for strong and long-lasting criminal justice reform. The reentry programs I've researched are challenging and shifting the way Corrections and jails operate, the way justice-involved people are viewed by others and view themselves, and the way criminal justice is carried out in our communities. These programs are responding to 'crime' in a different way - by bringing every corner of the community together to understand, to help, and to heal. The people who run each program are bringing this mindset to the people around them. I built this website to bring that mindset to everyone, on a much broader scale.
I describe the programs I've researched to show the world what amazing things can happen on a local level when people have the passion, the drive, and the opportunity to do 'justice' differently. I explain every piece of the program to show other reentry providers ideas on how to expand their program and offer even more services. I detail the steps it took to build those programs to show people who may be interested in working for or building a program, especially people with incarceration experience, that it's possible and to help them do it.
I'm writing the Guidebook to help make the process of creating a program easier, faster, more efficient, and less stressful - hopefully by providing examples and ideas and breaking down the process it can make the task less daunting and more manageable.
I bring research articles and multimedia publications to the Resources page to make current evidence in the field of reentry more prevalent and accessible. I explain these resources, breaking down their technical language and difficult concepts, to make academic research more understandable and useful for the people who would benefit from it.
My ultimate goal with this website, is to facilitate an explosion of reentry programs across New York State and beyond that will change the way the criminal justice system operates in this country.
That's a lot about me - what about you?
What I hope you gain from this website
My hope is that everyone who comes to ReentryToolsNY gets excited about reentry, finds one thing that interests them, and adapts it to their local community. That could be something as large as building an entirely new reentry program, or something as small as changing the way you think about people who have been to jail. I'm always focused on improving and expanding the things available to help people, and I've built this website which that in mind. Everyone could learn something from ReentryToolsNY and hopefully this website helps us all connect and serve our communities better.
The work experience that got me here...
For any questions, inquiries, advice, or comments, please contact me at ReentryToolsNY@gmail.com
Fellow students, please don't hesitate to reach out about how I created this project, how I created and secured these internships, or how I figured out my passions! :)