Tag Archives: news release

Groups Rally for Re-entry & Prison Reform

PRESS CONFERENCE & PHOTO OP: 13 April 2016, 11am, Capitol Steps

NEWS RELEASE:  Groups Rally for Re-entry & Prison Reform

“Right now … if you leave prison, you get $100 and a bus ticket,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said as he laid out his plans for the state prison system in February of 2015.  “That is really not going to help reduce repeat offenders from going back in.  They need an opportunity.”


On Wednesday, April 13, several dozen civic and social advocacy groups* and many members of the general public who are affected by these issues will rally on the front steps of the Capitol in a show of support for proposed reforms, such as the hiring of additional parole and probation officers, the creation of a transitional reentry center program and alternative (non-prison) sentences for nonviolent offenders.

Coordinated by the Central Arkansas Re-Entry (CARE) Coalition, the rally begins at 11am and features speakers from various agencies, organizations and groups which are somehow involved with the incarceration and reentry process.

“Because the impact of incarceration is so great on the individual, their families, and society as a whole, it takes an array of service providers, public policy experts, faith-based groups, community organizations, support services and mentors with lived experience to assist with transition to return to society and avoid the situations that lead to recidivism,” Robert Kim Combs, Chair of CARE’s Policy & Law Committee, explained the complexity of the problem. “No one entity can do it all and do it effectively.  This rally is to celebrate the wealth of people and organizations that are helping and to tell the story of the 56% of people who successfully return without re-offending.  Plus, we also want to acknowledge that many of these groups are working without government support.”


With respect to these collaborative efforts, an official Proclamation of the Governor, declaring April 13, 2016, as ARKANSAS COMMUNITY REENTRY DAY, will be presented and, concluding the presentation, attendees will have the opportunity to tour the Capitol, meet legislators and learn about their General Assembly.

For more information, visit www.ArkansasReentry.com or call (501) 444-CARE.

*partial list of advocacy groups supporting rally:

  • Arkansans Organizing for Justice
  • Arkansas Access to Justice
  • Arkansas C.U.R.E
  • Arkansas Coalition for Peace and Justice
  • Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
  • Arkansas Community Organizations
  • Arkansas Department of Workforce Services
  • Arkansas Re-entry and Prevention Initiative
  • Arkansas Time After Time
  • Arkansas Voices of the Child Left Behind
  • ARVets
  • Broken Chain Ministries
  • Center for Artistic Revolution
  • Center for Women in Transitions
  • City Connections
  • Difference Makers
  • Disability Rights Arkansas
  • Diverse Youth for Social Change
  • Goodwill
  • I Too Have a Dream
  • Incarcerated Disciples
  • Interfaith Arkansas
  • Little Rock Catholic Diocese
  • Lucie’s Place
  • Open Door Outreach
  • Personal Empowerment Recovery Coalition Boone County Recovery Project
  • Philander Smith College Better Community Developers, Inc.
  • Recovery Centers of Arkansas
  • SOAR Network
  • The Arc
  • Veterans for Peace – Arkansas Chapter #978
  • Women and Children First

For more information contact Robert Combs (501) 563-2197.

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New edition in the works…

Dear Help YourSelf Readers, Supporters and Advertisers:

Many thanks to all who have asked about when our next print publication will come out. We are happy to announce that this is now in the works.

We are humbled that our debut edition of Help YourSelf: Community Resources Directory, 20,000 copies of which went to print in October of 2014 and was freely distributed throughout Pulaski County, was so warmly welcomed by professional social service providers, community advocacy networkers, and individual people seeking the means to help themselves become thriving members of a healthy society.

As you may (or may not?) know, we were preparing to go to print with our second edition in February of 2015. Then, in January that year, our Editor-in-Chief, Christine Beems, experienced a sudden-onset respiratory failure, clinically died, was resuscitated and took the past twelve months to recuperate. Happily, both of us are now busily at  work getting things in order for our next edition to go to print.

Still, ours is a tripartite business model and the third cog in the wheel of ”making things happen’ is you…

You, being a person with a good-works group, governmental agency, or private enterprise who has a budget to spend on educational outreach, dissemination of public information, or promoting community good will… we can only go to print with the dollars that come from your support as an advertiser in our publication.

Thus even if you, yourself, are not an advertiser, we invite you to take a look at the PDF of our debut edition and also at the PDF of our purchase order

Then share this information with someone you know to be supportive of this kind of collaborative community enrichment effort… and ask them, as a personal favor to you, to support the print publication of our Help YourSelf Community Resources Directory.

Again, thanks to each and every person who has shown and continues to show such tremendous enthusiasm for us to again put Help YourSelf in print.

~Robert Kim Combs, Publisher & General Manager, Help Yourself Publishing

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Champion Awards

We are both proud and humbled: Help YourSelf Publisher & General Manager, Robert Kim Combs, was among a select group of business professionals, agencies and elected officials recognized by the Central Arkansas ReEntry (CARE) Coalition as CHAMPIONS of proactive reentry advocacy and public service.  Click here to see our pictorial of the Awards Luncheon and learn more about what what these folks did to deserve the recognition…!!!

Champions All: (left to right): Senator Eddie Joe Williams, Publisher Robert Kim Combs, City of Little Rock (Andre Bernard), CSI Construction (Jonathan Seman), Senator Stephanie Flowers, Senator Joyce Elliot,  Office of Child Support Enforcement (Dan McDonald).

Champions All (left to right): Senator Eddie Joe Williams, Publisher Robert Kim Combs, City of Little Rock (Andre Bernard), CSI Construction (Jonathan Seman), Senator Stephanie Flowers, Senator Joyce Elliot, Office of Child Support Enforcement (Dan McDonald).

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Champions declared by CARE Coalition

Arkansas State Senators Eddie Joe Williams, Stephanie Flowers and Joyce Elliot will be honored as Champions by the Central Arkansas ReEntry (CARE) Coalition at its Annual Membership & Recognition Luncheon, 23 January 2015.

In addition to the three legislators, the Champion distinction will also be awarded to Arkansas Office of Child Support Enforcement, CDI Construction, the City of Little Rock and Robert Davis.

The awards pay tribute to the individuals, state and municipal agencies for their work promoting the success of Arkansans reentering free society after incarceration.

Williams, Flowers and Elliot are being recognized as longtime proponents of criminal justice reform and outspoken dedication to eliminating prison overcrowding and reducing recidivism.

CDI Construction is being recognized for its willingness to employ ex-offenders, the Office of Child Support Enforcement for their work helping ex-offenders meet their legal obligations, the City of Little Rock for their general support of organizations working on reentry issues, and Robert Davis, founder of iahWeh Entertainment, for his success as a returning citizen.

In addition to the awards recognition, the coalition’s accomplishments of the past year will be reviewed and their strategic plan for 2015 will be outlined.

The luncheon convenes at 11:30am, Friday, 23 January 2015, at the Willie Hinton Center, 3805 W. 12th St., Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, contact Leta Anthony, Chair of the Central Arkansas ReEntry Coalition, (501) 541-6038 or email centralarkansasreentry@gmail.com


NEWS RELEASE co-authored and distributed copyright free as a public service by Christine Beems, Editor, and Robert Kim Combs, Publisher & General Manager, HelpYourSelf Publishing. Please email questions and requests to christine@gozarks.com

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Learn to Earn

“We see this as a ‘beta model’ test-pilot segment of a comprehensive
reentry system in Arkansas,” Robert Kim Combs, Publisher & General
Manager of Help YourSelf: Community Resources Directory, discussed his
company’s “Learn to Earn” program, set for official debut next month.

Assembled by Combs and partner Christine Beems, Help YourSelf
Editor-in-Chief, the training and development program aims to
replicate several of the successful practices discussed during a
6-month round of legislative hearings.

“Our intention is simply to be responsive to the important questions
being posed by our legislators, about what to do to alleviate
Arkansas’s overcrowded prisons,” Combs, whose debut print edition of
the full-color 24-page tabloid ‘community resources’ publication went
into distribution barely two months ago and now has over 16,000 copies
circulating around Little Rock and throughout Pulaski County,
explained his organization’s objectives for the Learn to Earn program.

“One highly successful prison program in another state made it
possible for inmates to earn a good income during incarceration,”
Beems elaborated. “This made it possible for them to pay child
support, clear fines and make restitution, which double-dipped
benefits to taxpayers. It also gave inmates a leg to stand on when
they reentered free society, because they had developed marketable
skill. And the skill that proved most viable was sales.”

Training as a sales and marketing professional, as per the program’s
curriculum, includes skill-development with public speaking, customer
service, information management, accurate record-keeping, doing
research and making presentations. Also included are ongoing
assessments of competency to succeed and individual mentoring for
remediation, all of which were, according to Beems, identified during
the legislative hearings as key competencies necessary for successful

“Our legislators are considering a massive shift in the fundamental
practices of our punitive justice system,” Combs homed-in on a topic
near and dear to ongoing legislative debate: the difference in benefit
and outcome between developing programs to dramatically increase the
number of people who transition from prison back into their family and
community successfully, versus spending $200-million-plus to build a
new prison.

“And they rightly need to see some examples of reentry practices that
work,” Combs concluded. “Because, after all, it is not just our tax
dollars but our overall safety and well-being as a society that is at

Details of the Learn to Earn program, which is offered free of charge,
will be discussed during a meet-and-greet luncheon, 10am to 2pm,
Thursday, January 15, at the Help YourSelf administrative office in
Van Buren County. Program administrators, parole officers, church and
good-works group leaders and civic officials are encouraged to attend
this orientation, and to bring potential candidates for enrollment in
the 6-week training program.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Combs at 501-563-2197 or
visit the Learn to Earn page on this website.

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