Find out more about what we do at New Leaf – New Life.
Find out more about what we do at New Leaf – New Life.
New Leaf – New Life strives to be a part of big change in Bloomington, IN. Through our work inside and outside the jail, we are building a stronger community and offering hope and opportunity to our neighbors affected by incarceration.
To support residents during incarceration and in their transition back into this community.
Transformative justice, personal growth, and self-advocacy.
Each year, approximately 75% of inmates in the Monroe County Jail benefit from one or more of our services.
Inside the Monroe County Correctional Center, the staff and volunteers of New Leaf – New Life works with jail officials to run a variety of programs to better the lives of people who are incarcerated.
The Read to Me program records men and women in the jail reading children’s books. Once recorded by volunteers, the children of those incarcerated are sent a copy of the book and a recording of their parent reading aloud the book.
Our re-entry groups focus on obtaining skills to smoothly transition back into society, covering topics such as housing, rehabilitation options, and healthy life choices. Participants build Day 1, Week 1, and Month 1 action plans, as well as provide resource suggestions for others. Life skills classes include reading sections of “Stay Solid: a Radical Handbook for Youth” and discuss topics such as Family, Relationships, Education, Employment, Class & Class Struggle, etc.
Our groups focus on learning both generally applicable skills, such as analytical thinking, and on specific skill sets, such as computer-based logic. An overarching perspective of the education is to focus on overcoming negative behaviors and negative beliefs by examining different ways of thinking.
We support inmates’ sense of self through fun social events and chances to express themselves.
Our writing groups discuss poems, often addressing topics like substance abuse or emotional turmoil, and write their own work in response. The work encourages critical thinking, vulnerability, empathy, and a better understanding of their current situation.
One of NLNL’s most popular programs, in partnership with St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, Jail Bingo provides not only an hour of entertainment in the cell blocks, but also highly desirable prizes like soap and peanut butter.
Our self-care groups range from sessions to create pillow cases for family/friends to practicing mindfulness, especially as it relates to substance abuse, anger management, and other challenges. The groups offer opportunities to reflect on living satisfying and meaningful lives.
New Leaf New Life’s Jail Bingo, a partnership with St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, is just one way we help inmates feel connected to each other and to the community, and show some compassion. Learn more by watching this short video.
“You provide a great service and a lot of help to all of us who really need it. Thank you.”
“You guys do amazing things helping all of us out. Without your services most of us would be stuck.”
Many people are released from jail with nothing but the clothes they were wearing when arrested. We work with clients to reach their goals and achieve a successful transition.
Transition Support Center
People released from incarceration are welcomed at our Transition Support Center (TSC) located at 1010 S. Walnut St., Suite H where we provide short-term & long-term assistance.
The Re-Entry Mentorship Program provides more in-depth peer support to folks recently released from incarceration. With the help of one-on-one support from a Re-Entry Mentor, participants do a needs assessment, build action plans, acquire necessary resources, and receive education on staying sober, crisis intervention, and trigger identification.
The Re-entry Collective is a group of individuals passionate about finding systemic solutions for individuals re-entering society. All are welcome to attend.
The Bloomington Expungement Desk is a partnership with Indiana Legal Services and the Maurer School of Law to support recently incarcerated individuals in expunging their records. While the in-person service is temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still able to refer people.
“The program is a blessing to me and other women, we come here broken and with low self esteem, New Leaf New Life gives us hope, provides us with things we need like glasses and reading material. I love the program.”
“I’d truly be lost without you and everyone at New Leaf. It really means the world to me.
Jordan is the Executive Director of New Leaf, New Life. She recently obtained her PhD from IU School of Public Health, majoring in Leisure Behavior. She’s a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS), and is the President of Recreation Therapists of Indiana (RTI).
Stacy Flynn is the Assistant Director at New Leaf New Life and has previously served as our Volunteer Coordinator. Stacy oversees daily operations at our Transition Support Center (TSC) as well as the Re-entry Mentor Program. She is passionate about working alongside volunteers as well as community members who have been impacted by the criminal justice system.
A Bloomingtonian who left for a long time, Bruce moved back to Bloomington to take care of some family. After many years of addiction, Bruce is committed to giving back to a community that he “probably destroyed a bit” and to helping other people one day at a time.
Reentry Mentor & Support Specialist
Originally from Ellettsville, IN, Misty has lived in Bloomington for the past 22 years. Having battled addiction herself, she understands the complex struggles of such things as substance misuse and houselessness. Today she lives a life centered around helping others seeking support to improve their quality of life. She’s very involved in her local recovery community, assisting women in helping maintain a life without drugs. She has two wonderful children and shares a home with her loving boyfriend and two parakeets, Jane and Charlie.
Volunteers play a crucial role in our mission, running enrichment classes in jail’s multipurpose room, and helping assist clients at the Transition Support Center. New Leaf – New Life could not function without its slate of volunteers!
A long-time community social worker committed to equity, Donyel was named the social worker of the year in 2018 by the National Association of Social Workers, Indiana Chapter. Her current professional work includes teaching as an Associate Faculty with the IU School of Social Work. Previously, Donyel provided supportive services to children and families who had been involved with child protection services, school social work, assisting people in the community with enrollment in health coverage, and advocating for equity in education, health care, and affordable housing.
A former associate professor of Computational Linguistics at Indiana University and current director of the Jubilee College Ministry (First United Methodist Church), Markus has been volunteering in the jail since 2010 and on the board since 2015. Also active with Thriving Connections, Markus focuses his time with NL-NL on external communications and in engaging the larger community.
A retired associate professor of Computer Science at Indiana University, Chris has been a NLNL board member since 2017, Treasurer since 2019, and a NLNL jail volunteer since 2010. He is a Lay Minister for Prison Ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, a Bureau of Prisons Minister of Record, and offers instruction in meditation and breathing practices. He has served on the Boards of the UU Church and Bloomingfoods, and as a CASA and Big Brother.
Nordia is an outpatient therapist at Meadows. She was the VP for the board of directors for South Central Indiana Housing Opportunity (SCIHO), a member of the Anti-Oppression Education Committee in the school of social work and a member of the United Methodist Outreach Committee.
As the Nonprofit Central Specialist at the Monroe County Public Library, Bobby works with nonprofits of all types and sizes. This has given her a special understanding and deep appreciation for the work nonprofits do in our community. Working as the jail librarian, she saw firsthand how programs like NLNL help individuals stay connected to their family and the community as a whole.
New Leaf – New Life, Inc. was founded by members of Citizens for Effective Justice in early 2005 to address unmet needs of people caught up in our criminal justice system.
In 2006, New Leaf began to find its own way by supporting a Community Forum on Recidivism and entering into an agreement with the Monroe County Correctional Center (MCCC) and Work One to implement a Transition Program, funded by a grant from the Sparkplug Foundation. Since that time, transition counselors and volunteers have helped people under incarceration navigate the various social services available in Monroe County and secure the resources they need to succeed upon release, in addition to offering a wide range of volunteer-driven programs and activities inside the jail blocks.
Building from a Community Model and with support from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, in 2007 New Leaf began to focus on residential substance abuse treatment in one cell block, called a “Therapeutic Milieu”, or as the residents called it, the Addicts In Recovery (AIR) Block.
In October of 2011, the Perry Township Trustees donated office space to New Leaf at 1010 South Walnut St. At this location, New Leaf has helped hundreds of ex-offenders secure clothing, hygiene products, bus tickets, and referrals to helpful social service agencies. The office serves as a positive environment where ex-offenders know there’s someone available to support them. We are ever expanding in our services and hope to help even more people succeed in their transition back into society.