Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative (T.O.R.I.)
Welcome to the Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative also known as TORI. TORI is a faith-based program affiliated with the Potter's House of Dallas, Inc. The Potter's House was founded by Bishop T. D. Jakes in 1996.
Because of the vision of Bishop Jakes and his overwhelming passion to minister to the needs of hurting people, Bishop Jakes established a prison ministry in 1997 to serve incarcerated individuals and their families. Through that program, known as the New Creation Prison and Jail Ministry, Bishop Jakes reached behind prison walls delivering messages of inspiration and hope to numerous inmates across the world through his books, media ministry and conference satellite uplinks.
In 2004, Bishop Jakes and former COO of The Potter's House, Roland Hairston, felt a heavy call to expand the services of the prison ministry by offering assistance to inmates who were returning home to their communities.
In Texas alone, more than 70,000 prisoners are released each year, with most of them returning to communities in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio. Due to the high volume of former inmates reentering these communities, The Potter's House responded to this concern through the formation of TORI, a five-city partnership working together to reduce recidivism in the most problematic reentry cities in the state of Texas. With the support of the Metroplex Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded by Bishop Jakes to bridge economic voids existing in urban America, TORI opened its doors in January 2005. Since the inception of the program, TORI has served over 5,000 formerly incarcerated individuals across the state of Texas.
TORI is an intensive 12-month case management program that offers six core comprehensive services that the majority of formerly incarcerated clients need upon release.Those services include: employment, housing, education, family reunification, health care and spiritual guidance. By addressing and providing resources in these six key areas, TORI hopes to aid and empower those formerly incarcerated to achieve successful reentry and a new lifestyle free of crime.
Although the demand is high, TORI passionately feels that providing solutions to the many barriers our clients face, we can reduce the rate of recidivism and slowly but surely build back the integrity of our families in Texas and provide a safe and healthier place for our future generations to live.
TORI has provided services for over 5,000 formerly incarcerated individuals who have returned home to Texas since December 2004. TORI has been successful in creating collaborative programs and providing supportive services to local, city, state and federal institutions. TORI has also built superior relationships with faith-based and community organizations to help provide wraparound services to clients who would otherwise have very limited resources. Through these partnerships, TORI has been able to effectively and efficiently impact prisoner reentry in the state of Texas for those returning back home to their communities.
The mission of TORI is to guide and empower ex-offenders to maximize their potential and increase their opportunities for successful reintegration into society therefore, decreasing recidivism and assisting clients to become productive citizens within their communities. TORI's mission encompasses a holistic approach to comprehensive treatment and services for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Today TORI's services include:
- Intensive Case Management
- Employment Coaching and Placement
- Transitional Housing and Independent Living Assistance
- GED and Educational classes
- Substance abuse & HIV/AIDS/STD prevention & treatment
- Family Reunification Counseling
- Financial Literacy
- Anger Management
- Life Skills and peer support groups
- Licensed professional counseling services
- Chaplaincy Services
TORI has also established relationships with the University of Texas at Arlington to provide undergraduate and graduate social work students with field practice opportunities in order to complete their practicum requirements. Through this partnership TORI offers students skills development and hands-on application to enhance their learning experiences.
TORI has also developed a great relationship with the Corporation for National and Community Service, AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program. This program provides employment opportunities for TORI graduates to work full-time as VISTA members for nonprofit, faith-based entities, community organizations and public agencies. The purpose of this unique opportunity is to create and expand programs that ultimately bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty. Additionally, it provides an avenue for clients to give back to their communities, and serve as productive citizens of their country.
TORI has also established a relationship with the Dallas Housing Authority (DHA) to provide housing to formerly incarcerated individuals through the use of a project-based Section 8 voucher. Clients have the ability to independently apply for a voucher as long as they actively participate in TORI's 12-month program. TORI has also established relationships with four private property owners who have set aside 204 units consisting of one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom units for clients who have been awarded the Section 8 vouchers. Upon successful completion of the one-year program, clients' vouchers are freestanding, allowing them the option to move forward to any other property that accepts their vouchers. This program has achieved an overwhelming response from clients in excess of 500 referrals in three months. It also provides an ex-offender the opportunity to live independently regardless of his criminal background as long as he is compliant with the program. In addition, TORI clients are empowered to become self-sufficient and productive citizens of their communities. Today, this program has served over 150 families by providing stable, healthy home environments for TORI clients.