How Kintock Group bridges gap between incarceration and community life

Data on individuals exiting the criminal justice system and reentering the community are eye-opening.

According to the Prison Policy Initiative’s New Jersey profile: A report in 2021 showed New Jersey has an “incarceration rate of 341 per 100,000 people” — which accounts for the number of individuals currently in state prisons, local jails, federal prisons and other facilities (i.e. immigration detention, juvenile justice facilities, etc.).

The last count, in 2023, showed there were 24,000 individuals incarcerated in various types of facilities in the state of New Jersey — 12,500 individuals in prison, 7,900 individuals in local jails, 2,300 individuals in federal prisons, 800 individuals in involuntary commitment and 510 individuals in youth facilities.

A 2020 report that examined where people in prison came from geographically showed that six counties in the state of New Jersey are “home to more than half of the state’s imprisoned population” — Passaic, Essex, Camden, Atlantic, Cumberland and Cape May.

Reentry in New Jersey is not always easy — it can be complex, with many barriers to overcome, unique challenges to face and complications when it comes to ease of navigation. When job-hunting, individuals often find they have little experience and often lack educational or vocational skills needed to even fill out an application. Some many need additional mental health or addiction support to address underlying issues, while others return from incarceration without any place to call “home.”

So, what is being done to help guide and support these individuals upon reentry?

The answer lies in connecting these individuals with effective reentry programming and on-the-ground support to ensure favorable outcomes and long-term success post-incarceration. Reentry programs give individuals guidance and direct access to daily necessities like stable housing and food, clothing, mental health services, educational and employment opportunities and even a smartphone and transportation establish a solid, stable foundation for formerly incarcerated individuals to build upon as they reestablish themselves and forge new lives.

Some reentry organizations serve solely as referral sources — simply directing individuals to the appropriate groups, treatment or services depending on the individual’s unique needs, and often right in their own communities. Others provide the service and support themselves, helping individuals transition seamlessly to life outside of prison.

Organizations like the Kintock Group bridge this divide — serving as a one-stop shop for quality, evidence-based reentry programs designed to reduce recidivism, encourage self-sufficiency and prepare individuals to reenter the community as productive members of society. Access to these services all in one place, guided by staff who place great value on building trust and establishing connections, which are critical to the success of clients who, without these supports and skills, would be at higher risk of reoffending and continue down the cyclical path of incarceration.

Through its Vantage Point program, Kintock has provided voluntary reentry assistance to more than 700 clients enrolled in Essex and Passaic counties alone, and nearly 1,500 clients statewide.  Although Vantage Point is open to all individuals living in the state of New Jersey, Kintock will continue to expand our Vantage Point office locations throughout the state in order to increase the accessibility and availability of reentry services to even more individuals exiting the criminal justice system.

The key to Kintock’s continued success in the reentry space lies in our team of nearly 400 highly qualified, professional and experienced employees. Each person on the Kintock team is deeply committed to their clients’ well-being and long-term success — guiding these individuals and imparting the skills and support needed to foster independence and positive growth. By investing in the training and professional development of each employee, we are not only ensuring the delivery of quality services to the clients who come into our care, but also are fostering employee confidence, job satisfaction and longevity.

Since it was first established in1985, Kintock has effectuated real, positive change — successfully bridging the gap between incarceration and reentry, guiding individuals during their transition back to the community post-incarceration and positively impacting thousands of New Jersey residents. We know that, once a person steps foot out of the criminal justice system, their path towards a second chance at life is only just beginning. But, they do not have to do it alone. Kintock is here and we are so much more than just a resource — we are a safe and steady guide, dedicated to passionately committed to helping individuals on their fresh, new start at life.

Walter Simpkins is the CEO of the Kintock Group — and a veteran law enforcement professional with more than 40 years of experience in corrections, spanning both the public and private sectors, and an extensive knowledge of correctional best practices, corrections management and reentry services.