The mission of pace is to provide a variety of services to help offenders, ex-offenders, and their families to lead productive and responsible lives in their community.
Our vision is to ensure that people returning to the community from incarceration have the tools and resources to successfully reenter; to promote public safety through effective reentry; and to enhance community stabilization through reduced crime and increased productiveness.
PACE (originally public action in correctional efforts) was founded in Indiana in 1960. Its original mission was to provide volunteer visitors to prisoners at what was formerly known as the Indiana reformatory at Pendleton. A short time after this, pace expanded its activities to include advocacy, as well as work in other penal institutions throughout the state. In the role of advocate, pace would work to ensure that the treatment of those incarcerated was humane and that those offenders re-entering the community had opportunities for success.
OAR (offender aid & restoration) started its work in 1968, after a state prison riot in Richmond Virginia. This incident prompted citizens to band together in search of a solution. This search led them to the doorstep of the local jail. OAR chose jail as its focus because it is there that people first and most often experience incarceration. OAR/Marion county began operating in 1982 and was dedicated to making the criminal justice system more just. PACE and OAR officially merged in December 2002. After this merger the organization continued to operate solely by volunteers that provided services inside jails and prisons.
Eventually the organization began to see a shift in the number of people being released from prison without resources, which prompted a shift in operations. PACE/OAR began to offer transitional services to those individuals who were being released from prison back into the community. The services included family reunification, transitional housing, substance abuse groups, and education. Due to reduced funding the programs offered in local jails and prisons were discontinued and the focus shifted to assisting those returning from incarceration.
In 2010 the board of directors decided that it was time to change the name of the organization to match the work being done, thus after a year of careful consideration, studies and meetings, the name was changed to public advocates in community re-entry. The organization, while maintaining its focus on criminal justice, had shifted severely in the execution of services that was originally created in the original mission. The organization had grown to a staff of eleven offering services to over 5,000 clients a year. Pace has a long standing history of working exclusively with the ex-offender population and continues to work towards improving the system.