Emerging Leader Helping to Provide Solid Second Chances
Most of the tens of thousands of people released annually from jails and prisons are eager to do well, stay sober, work productively, and enjoy healthy relationships. Yet, they quickly become disillusioned due to the twin evils of isolation and invisibility. Precious hopes die, public safety is compromised, and re-incarceration becomes likely.
In early 2022, We Raise awarded Maddi Briguglio an Emerging Leader Grant for her work helping returning citizens get the assistance they need to turn their lives in a positive direction. Briguglio is the Illinois Program Manager for the Inside Out Network (ION), an organization that works like a dating service for reentry, matching inmates and returning citizens with the service providers who can truly help them.
ION was formed as an answer to poor communication, constantly changing service providers, and out-of date information. Given countless wrong numbers and wasted trips, it’s easy to see why so many returning citizens get discouraged, stop trying, and return to harmful habits. Most people aren’t lazy or uncaring; they are discouraged and disconnected.
By offering providers in categories such as housing, ministries, substance abuse treatment, health care, legal matters, job training, education, and more, ION creates a seamless process for returning citizens to follow. Their aim is to fix the broken reentry model and empower returning citizens for the long haul.
After years as a prison ministry, ION began running as a nonprofit in 2020. They have partnerships with the Illinois and Arizona Department of Corrections and plan to launch partnerships with three additional states by 2023.
Briguglio received both a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. During a year off between undergrad and grad school, she volunteered at the Perryville Prison Complex in Arizona, working with female inmates.
As a program manager, Briguglio works to build a thriving network and implement the ION platform across Illinois by connecting with service providers. She also assists the Illinois Department of Corrections with both inmate registration and staff training and is involved with reentry coalitions and communities.
“Something I hold onto daily is my faith in God and genuinely believing in the best in people,” added Briguglio. “For me it’s about forgiveness, peace, and giving second chances to anybody willing to ask for forgiveness.”
As part of the Emerging Leader Grant, Briguglio receives support for leadership development, including a leadership coach and the opportunity to attend the “Lead for Success” program.
“I’m super grateful for the We Raise donors and all they have done to provide financial support for ION as an organization and me as an individual,” said Briguglio. “Linal Harris is my leadership coach and he’s been awesome. I’ve experienced a ton of personal and professional growth in working with him.”
Thanks to the compassionate, like-minded thinking of We Raise donors, Inside Out Network is able to help returning citizens continue to thrive with the inherit dignity worthy of all God’s people and young, passionate individuals like Maddi Briguglio can continue to develop into even stronger leaders.