Supporting Incarcerated Individuals During Reentry

March 8, 2023

When an incarcerated person is released from prison, having a support system in place to help them navigate the reentry process can make all the difference. That’s where the Kansas Supportive Housing for Offenders Program (KSHOP) can help.

Sara Breedlove serves at the KSHOP Intensive Case Manager and Prison/Parole Liaison for Wyandot Center, providing mental health services and support to incarcerated individuals. Breedlove begins working with offenders before they are released to prepare them for reentering society.

KSHOP is an intensive program meant for incarcerated individuals who experience Severe and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI), have a history of substance use, are on parole and are precariously housed. The multidisciplinary team brings together the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC), Heartland Regional Alcohol & Drug Assessment Center (RADAC) and Wyandot Center to provide wrap-around services to help set individuals up for success during their transition back into society. This includes placement in transitional housing, mental health and substance use treatment services and assistance in learning daily living skills.

As part of her role, Breedlove spends a lot of time working with individuals on those daily living skills, including hygiene, laundry, budgeting and purchasing and preparing food.

“If these clients succeed in whatever success looks like for them, then ultimately our entire community benefits from that.”

Sara Breedlove, KSHOP Intensive Case Manager

“Many of the people I work with have never been taught some of the things you and I can do without even thinking about it,” says Breedlove. “I can go to the grocery store or make a meal without putting too much thought into it. So I do a lot of teaching basic daily living skills and I love it. I’m not a big fan of going to the grocery store for my family, but I love going with a client and thinking about our budget and how we’re going to keep track of what we’re spending to make the meals we’ve planned out. It’s very gratifying.”

Breedlove says the reentry process can be overwhelming, especially for those who have been incarcerated for long periods of time.

“I worked with one man who is doing amazing and has since graduated KSHOP. He went to prison in the 80s and spent more than 3 decades in the facility. When he got out, the world was completely different. We didn’t have the electronics in the 80s that we do now. The first time he ordered something off of Amazon, we had a huge celebration.

“People get out and they try to navigate the process on their own and it’s so difficult. Just having somebody who can sit alongside you and say ‘hey, let’s do this together’ can really help.”

KSHOP works with individuals throughout the duration of their parole and can offer additional support even after they graduate from the program. Breedlove explains that the goal of KSHOP is to provide these individuals with the tools they need to support themselves so they can live stable lives and avoid hospitalization and/or reincarceration. That in turn helps to reduce recidivism and homelessness and free up law enforcement and hospital resources. 

“If these clients succeed in whatever success looks like for them, then ultimately our entire community benefits from that.”