78024127A prisoner reentry model to reduce recidivism through learning, building resources, accountability and collaboration.

Getting Ahead while Getting Out is a ground-breaking prisoner reentry model with the goal of engaging incarcerated people, their families, volunteers, community organizations, and people in corrections as problem solvers who work shoulder to shoulder to create stable and supportive communities where everyone can live well.

When model co-creator Michelle Wood was 12, she was already facing felony charges. She spent much of her youth incarcerated and faced the challenges of reentry herself. After her release, Wood found a way to move forward through the nationally recognized program Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World, developed by Philip DeVol, a part of the Bridges Out of Poverty family of community sustainability strategies published by aha! Process.

As a reentry coordinator/probation officer and former offender, Wood recognized that the pre-release population could benefit greatly from a program specific to the many challenges those returning citizens would face upon reentry. DeVol, a noted consultant and expert on poverty issues, agreed and teamed with Wood and Mitchell Libster to write Getting Ahead While Getting Out, the workbook component of the new Getting Out reentry model.

Getting Ahead While Getting Out lays out a 20-session program (best done twice a week) that enables pre-release individuals to create their own roadmaps as they learn a community- and relationship-based approach to reentry. To facilitate the transition, Wood, DeVol and Libster provide pre-release individuals with the tools needed to create their own 72-Hour Stability Plan, a plan to be implemented when they are first released to help them stay focused on their future and prevent them from violating the terms of probation or parole. Program modules help participants identify the 11 resources essential for successful reentry and learn though self-assessment which of these resources to strengthen and how they might do so.

Getting Ahead While Getting Out is the only reentry model based on a comprehensive process that includes:

  • All phases of reentry: pre-release; transition; and long-term, post-release
  • Offenders taking responsibility for future plans and actions before and after release
  • Participation of families, correctional personnel, volunteers, and community stakeholders
  • Identifying and building financial, social, personal, and occupational resources
  • Tie-ins with existing community-based services through Bridges Out of Poverty collaboratives

The Getting Ahead While Getting Out model has ignited interest across the country and beyond. From Ohio to Oklahoma to Australia, correctional facilities are recognizing its value. Forty certified and fired-up Oklahoma facilitators are scheduled to begin their work July 1 in the state’s prisons and jails using the newly released workbooks.

The time for this reentry program is now. According to the report Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010 from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about two-thirds of released prisoners were arrested for a new crime within three years; three-quarters were arrested within five years.

Michelle Wood knows the Getting Ahead While Getting Out reentry model she helped launch can make a difference in these recidivism rates and in the lives of the newly released—and she is not alone in her confidence. As one inmate and program participant at Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio wrote, “The program carries real and true hope for the participants. It creates a support system inside and outside of these walls.

Visit these the links below to learn more:

View a four-minute video, view the authors’ webinar, read about the Getting Out reentry model, order the workbooks, or register for a Certified Facilitator Training.

Media Contact:

To schedule an interview or to request a preview copy of the book, please contact Chase Pattillo at cpattillo@ahaprocess.com or call (832) 514-2689.

Click below for co-author bios with photos:

Philip DeVol

Michelle Wood

Mitchell Libster


For more than 15 years, Bridges Out of Poverty—a book, set of constructs, and series of workshops—has been used by local communities, educators, healthcare providers and businesses to address the challenges of poverty and improve lives. Bridges Out of Poverty principles are being applied in more than 40 states and six countries to combat poverty at the individual, community and institutional levels.

About the Publisher

aha! Process is an award-winning training and publishing company that works across all sectors of a community to address the root causes of poverty, support individuals as they build resources, and achieve a sustainable community where everyone can live well. aha! Process works with thousands of schools, employers, hospitals, colleges, first responders, judges, and community organizations, providing concrete strategies and proven tools to help under-resourced individuals thrive. Each program leverages more than 15 years of experience strengthened by a growing body of knowledge from communities benefiting from the model. These programs help institutions and communities understand the mindsets of people in poverty and engage with them to build success.