Who We Serve

Within the past 6 decades, among a national move toward deinstitutionalization that has led to the closure of state mental hospitals and other institutional facilities serving people with disabilities and mental health conditions, the criminal justice system has become a maladapted residential provider for individuals with intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) or serious mental illness (SMI). Per the Center for American Progress, 40% of incarcerated people report having a disability—a rate 3 times higher than the general population; similarly, the Treatment Advocacy Center reports 20% of inmates in jails and 15% in state prisons are estimated to have a serious mental illness. 

The pervasiveness of historical and present-day systemic racism in the criminal justice system means incarcerated individuals are disproportionately Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC), resulting in a compound segregation of non-white individuals IDD and/or SMI in carceral facilities. The few remaining state mental hospitals—including the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter—provides a marginally better standard of care. However, adults with IDD and/or SMI—many of whom are BIPOC—exiting incarceration and state mental hospitals face the same barriers to successful reentry and community navigation: limited access to transitional housing and culturally relevant supportive services.   

While Minnesota’s general population is 16.67% BIPOC, Minnesota’s prison population comprises a vastly disproportionate 48.3% BIPOC. Likewise, the state is home to more than 227,000 individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) (4% of the general population) and, according to most recent available reports from the Minnesota Department of Health, over 350,000 adults with serious mental illness (SMI) (4.3%). Among these, an estimated 5,000 face incarceration or court-ordered treatment at Minnesota Security Hospital each year (Prison Policy Initiative, 2018). According to the Minnesota Legislature, 1 in 6 people in jail have SMI, and within that group, over 7 in 10 have co-occurring substance use disorder. On average, patients at the State Hospital are discharged within 6 years and approximately 1,628 offenders with IDD or SMI exit jails or prisons each year (BJS, 2017). 

The barriers these individuals face to reintegration in society are manifold; criminal records have become “instruments of social exclusion,” barring justice-involved individuals from employment, housing, licensure, benefits, education, travel, and voting (Baxter, We Are All Criminals, 2017). Given the disproportionate toll of criminal justice on BIPOC individuals and that the Twin Cities have been identified as the 4th worst place for Black Americans to live in the entire nation, the impact on our communities of color is staggering. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and ensuing social upheaval, a glaring light has been shed on the Twin Cities’ inadequacies in providing stable housing solutions and rehabilitative and transitional services to our most vulnerable citizens. Now, more than ever, we need residential integration services and housing with an emphasis on cultural relevance for Black men.






As long as, injustice & inequality persist, none of us can truly rest. It doesn’t take much to change a life, Get in touch today and start making the difference.