The Focus Reentry Mentoring Program of Boulder County was founded in 2005 at the request of Boulder County Sheriff’s Department to address a critical gap in social services–the lack of an organized reentry program for those emerging from the Boulder County Jail. The goal was to address the “revolving door” of the criminal justice system, which often results from a lack of housing, employment, and support system for men and women upon release.
Tania Leontov took up the challenge to start a formal mentoring program for people coming out of the Boulder County Jail with no support system of any kind. She led a task force which was organized to motivate social action and volunteering to address this critical need. After founding the program, Ms. Leontov served as its Executive Director until 2013.
The first Focus Reentry mentor began work in April 2005. As word of its work spread, the program gained momentum in the community and jail. In 2010, Focus Reentry received the NOVA Award from the Boulder Community Foundation for its innovative programming. In 2011, Northpointe Institute for Public Management conducted a third-party evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the program. This study found that Focus Reentry had has achieved a 17% recidivism rate, drastically lower than the 57% national average of individuals returning to incarceration by the end of the first year (National Institute of Justice).
Today, Molly Bowers, a long-time supporter and previous Board member, leads Focus Reentry as its Executive Director. Under her leadership, Focus Reentry is continuing to serve the community at large and to promote successful second chances.
Focus Reentry has also engaged the services of Kyle Ward, Assistant Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Northern Colorado, who specializes in jail and prison reentry. Professor Ward is reviewing Focus Reentry’s practices and developing research protocols to assure the program engages in best practices and achieves the best possible results for our clients.