In the Landmark Education Self-Expression and Leadership Program, Joy Gaines' project was Suits 4 Success, which provided professional clothing to parolees who are looking for jobs. The project brought together attorneys from the public defenders office of Washtenaw County, Michigan, where Gaines works, with Washtenaw County Bar Association and the Michigan Prisoner ReEntry Initiative (MPRI) to collect clothing this past March.
A recent article in the Washtenaw County Legal News featured the project and points to its value – studies show that parolees securing and keeping legitimate employment is a critical factor in reducing their recidivism. According to the article, before the project the MPRI had no way of getting clothing appropriate for job interviews to parolees.
The project and a two week clothing drive kicked off on March 18 with a clothing drop-off at Catholic Social Services, and continued the next day with a clothing drop at the Public Defenders Office, and finally a clothing collection at the end of March at the Earl Restaurant in Ann Arbor.
Besides Gaines, attorneys Lloyd Powell, Delphia Simpson, Elaine Spiliopoulos, Lynn D'Orio, Michael Carter, Erane Washington and Erika Julien all came together to start a clothes closet for both men and women who were formerly incarcerated.
For more information regarding Suits 4 Success, read this article at the Washtenaw County Legal News.