ECRSSA LogoThe Issue

In the United States, approximately 1.6 million people are incarcerated in federal, state, and county prisons- 95% will be released back into our communities. Nationwide, 68% of released offenders were rearrested for a new crime within three years; 77% were arrested within five years. Of those arrested within three years, 57% were arrested by the end of their first year out.

Our Impact

Of the 152 clients that have been served and no longer require support, only 7% were known to have been reconvicted and returned to prison.  This success needs to be sustained long-term if we truly want to change our community for the better.


Every person has dignity and potential. But approximately 1 in 3 American adults has a criminal record, which limits their access to education, jobs, housing, and other things they need to reach that potential. 

Re-Entry is here to help unlock brighter futures for people with a criminal record.

The Erie County Re-Entry Services and Support Alliance (ECRSSA), better known as Re-Entry, provides support and services to transitioning clients through a network of community and faith-based organizations in partnership with the criminal justice system. Our vision is to support, empower, and help to fully integrate transitioning clients back into our community. Re-Entry will help the participant with accessing and attaining job training, employment, education, medical and mental health care, housing support, etc. GECAC believes a change in people is possible. We see it every day as the men and women in our care, work to further their educations, learn and heal from past mistakes, and make plans for a better future. Our dedicated team of re-entry professionals offers peer support to help with frustrations around re-entry and breaking out of a criminal lifestyle.


Our mission is to provide support and services to transitioning clients through a network of community and faith-based organizations in partnership with the criminal justice system.

Q.  What is a "Transitioning Client"?
A.   Individuals released from federal, state, or county prison who are re-entering Erie County after serving a sentence for a criminal conviction.

The primary goals of Re-Entry are:

  1. Increase access and connections to support services and assistance for transitioning clients.
  2. Promote responsible quality of life through positive family, spiritual, and informal support connections.
  3. Achieve safe communities through reduced recidivism.


Referrals to the program can be made by jail and prison staff or a parole agent for someone who will be coming back to our community soon. We also accept applications from people who have been out of jail or prison and need help finding a job or help getting connected to other support. Please go to Request More Info to request a referral form and one will be emailed to you.

For family or friends of someone who is incarcerated or struggling in the community who wants to know more about the program, please go to Request More Info for program contact information. We will reply to your email or answer your questions over the phone.

Re-Entry Location:

GECAC Headquarters
Use entrance on 27 West 8th Street

Gun Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS)

The ECRSSA serves as the resource component for the Group/Gun Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS). The GVRS entails the identification of individuals through a data-driven process that is a high risk for involvement in violent offenses as an offender as well as the victim. Once identified, a group of individuals is invited to hear a message, that message being one of the consequences as well as hope and support for those high-risk individuals. The ECRSSA manages the logistics of the GVRS meeting (otherwise referred to as a "Call-In") and case managers are on-site to immediately begin working with GVRS attendees following the presentation. The purpose is to connect those high-risk individuals with supports and services to assist them in disengaging from a high-risk lifestyle.

Our message to Call In invitees:

  1. Violence will no longer be tolerated.
  2. A genuine offer of help is being offered.
  3. We want to help.
  4. We want you to be SAFE, ALIVE, & OUT OF PRISON.


In 2013, Erie Together, the region's anti-poverty movement, in partnership with UnifiedErie, Erie's violence reduction effort, agreed that re-entry was a priority for not only overall community safety efforts, but also in the efforts to increased self-sufficiency among residents within Erie County. Erie Together took the lead in convening a group of stakeholders to explore the creation of a countywide re-entry strategy. The stakeholder group of cross-sector representation met regularly over the course of three years to identify the challenges that re-entrants, now referred to as transitioning clients, were facing. They discussed action/milestones transitioning clients must generally achieve in order to be most successful. Local trends were reviewed, as well as national data. A variety of factors were considered including unemployment, mental health, drug and alcohol, housing, transportation, and others. The planning group concluded that the best strategy would be the creation of a "one-stop-shop" to deliver important services and connect transitioning clients to appropriate resources within the community. This "one-stop-shop" was the formation of the Erie County Re-Entry Services and Support Alliance (ECRSSA). With the support from a $1.2 million grant from The Erie Community Foundation and United Way of Erie County, the ECRSSA was launched in July 2016 under the umbrella of the Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC).

The ECRSSA is a point of contact for any transitioning client returning to Erie from the federal, state, or county correctional institutions.  Additionally, the ECRSSA serves people reentering a law-abiding life from criminal networks or gun-related violence.

Share Your Story
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Request More Info

Helen Carter Snell
Program Manager
(814) 459-4581 Ext. 408