All-Inclusive Support Services (AISS) had its inception in August of 1996, the first program of its kind in the United States. At that time, the program was located at the old York Street Jail and consisted of 4 staff. In 1996, the program served a total of 234 ex-offenders. Since then, AISS has grown by leaps and bounds. In December of 2007, the AISS program moved to the WW Johnson Life Center, located at 736 State Street. AISS now has more than two dozen available staff, and each year serves more than 2,000 ex-offenders, 60% of them voluntary (without parole or probation stipulations). Never static, this program is always actively evolving to better meet the challenges of offender reentry as a vital area of impact on public safety.
The AISS assists formerly incarcerated people in all aspects of their lives as they transition from incarceration into the community. Many of them face a range of issues, such as addiction, mental health problems, lack of identifying documents, employment obstacles, financial concerns, limited education, poor housing situations (or lack of housing), etc. They also cope with a lack of familial support, poor self-esteem, fear of failure, and a constant temptation to return to the criminal lifestyle.
AISS is the bridge that carries the positive momentum that has begun during incarceration forward and that assists individuals in the Re-Entry Process.
As of Fiscal Year 2018, 30,912 ex-offenders have actively participated in and received community-based services from AISS since the program’s inception in 1996.
AISS Program: Services at a Glance
Assurance Wireless by / VIRGIN MOBILE
Free Lifeline Phone. Tue/Thurs 9am–12.Proofs needed:
1) Eligibility, ex., SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, or SSDI;
2) Identity, ex. state-issued ID or DL or SSC or Birth Certificate or Medicaid ID, and
3) Proof of Address, ex., DL, state ID, Mail, or Utility bill showing current address.
Clinical Support / BEHAVIORAL HEALTH NETWORK
The clinician sees clients by appointment Mon.-Fri. and can bridge periods of insurance coverage gaps. Crisis assessment, medication continuity, ongoing therapy, evaluations, and linkages to other agencies per client request. Trauma-informed, relational care with sensitivity to co-occurring disorders and histories of justice involvement. EMDR and trauma group available.
Healthcare for the Homeless / MERCY HOSPITAL
Nurses provide triage through Friends of the Homeless Clinic for health and mental health. Assists with insurance access and coverage issues. Includes Mass Health Enrollment at AISS: assistance Thursdays from 9–11am.
Parenting Group—Men / CHILDREN’S STUDY HOME
The “Fathers in Trust” Parenting program specifically for men is facilitated by staff certified in a holistic curriculum emphasizing communication skills and family empowerment. Entry points every other week. Wednesday evenings at 6pm (pre-screening required).
Parenting Group—Women / SQUARE ONE
Activities, education, and discussion exploring the mother-child bond and effective parenting while balancing multiple roles and priorities in life. Childcare with developmentally appropriate activities provided. Wednesday evenings at 6pm (pre-screening required).
SNAP / Food Bank of Western Mass
Weekly 1:1 sessions help clients to complete application and gain access to food for individual and family needs. Wednesdays 9am–12pm.
True Refuge: BEHAVIORAL HEALTH NETWORK
Co-ed group on Mindfulness based Relapse Prevention. Helps clients learn what’s meant by the phrase, “Serenity isn’t freedom from the storm, but calm within the storm,” and how this relates to recovery efforts. Check current meeting time (pre-screening required).
Women’s Writing Group: VOICES FROM INSIDE
Empowering workshops are based on the Amherst Writers and Artists Institute. As women find their voice, they find their way. Tuesdays at 4pm.
Anger & Beyond: Specific groups for women (Mon.) & men (Wed.) at 3pm offer open-enrollment CBT group assists members to apply what they have learned about anger to their community stabilization efforts. Led by staff or MSW / MHC graduate student(s).
Case Management: Intensive support assists clients to anticipate challenges and navigate their unique re-entry pathway, as supported by reentry staff and guided by individual Service Plans. Assistance with ID’s, housing, clothing, family matters, relapse prevention, lifestyle change, navigating DCF, and other activities.
CHESS: Community Housing that is Earned, Safe, and Supportive
This highly structured long-term program offers a real pathway to residential stability through clearly identified benchmarks, support, and individual accountability.
Education: Full range of classes, well-equipped “smart classroom,” educators specializing in teaching justice-involved students: ABE, ESOL, HiSET, Pre-HiSET, Academic Advising, Computer Skills, and support for transition into college.
- Employment Readiness participants strengthen interviewing skills, resumes, applications, attitude. Weekday mornings.
- Job Search participants receive vetted job leads from among 500 participating employers. Continued coaching and consultation on comportment, presentation, and strategy, from Employment staff. Weekday mornings.
- Employment Retention members receive support, information, and consultation help adjust and succeed in maintaining employment and rebuilding their lives, including credit repair, Department of Revenue coordination / arrangements, and work-life balance. By appointment.
Grief & Loss Group: Facilitated by a skilled licensed group facilitator, this program can help you through the toughest of times, when you are ready. Request a screening interview.
Men Stepping Up for Change: This weekly support group offers healthy perspectives and skills towards building violence-free relationships. Members discuss breaking their past domestic abuse patterns. The program invites appropriate minimum security residents prior to release and is voluntary for community clients. Wednesdays 6pm.
Mentorship: The program offers weekly community support in the form of 1:1 and small group mentorship (50+volunteer mentors). First three Mondays 6pm.
Resource & Support Group: This program provides a forum for support and information exchange around unique re-entry barriers. Thurs. 8:30am.
Women’s Support Group: Weekly meeting cultivates networking, fellowship, guidance, and a community of recovery. Tuesdays 6pm.
See news coverage of the 23rd annual AISS graduation ceremony here.
736 State St. Springfield, Ma. 01109
For directions, click here.
Drop-in Hours for Intakes at the following times:
8am-11:30am Monday-Friday & 12:30-2pm on Mondays