The Rural Improvement for Schooling and Employment (RISE) was implemented in 2007 in Nebraska to help those on probation succeed in their programs. Research conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice shows how high risk adult and juvenile probationers improve their success if they develop skills focused on education and employment. The RISE program was created in response to this research.
AmeriCorps members facilitate RISE’s research-based curriculum, but they also collaborate with and support local communities to encourage them to engage with the program. This allows AmeriCorps members to bring in volunteers to help support and teach the probationers the skills they need to succeed. The program also continues to support the probationers after completion in order to help them implement the skills they learned within the program.
The program has a 73% success rate over the last five years, meaning seventy-three percent of adult and juvenile probationers who graduate the RISE program do not return to the probation system a year after completion. The RISE program is state-wide and serves as a model program for other states to duplicate and implement.
The secret to the program’s success has three parts: members, support, and research-based curriculum. The AmeriCorps members are essential and provide a different level of support than a probation officer, creating a safe place for probationers to open up about their work and successes. Additional support from ServeNebraska and State Probation Program Administrators also help sustain the program. It’s research based curriculum is the final key component and is supported by an identified need and a foundation of evidence based practices. With these three key components, RISE has been able to offer probationers in rural areas of Nebraska the support and help they need to succeed.
To read more about this program, visit pages 19-20 of Transforming Communities Through Service Publication.