THE CHALLENGE

Our country has yet to reconcile with its history of inequity. 

 

Society is quick to label people as the "problem," rather than address the actual problems they face. A cycle forms that further stigmatizes people, and weaponizes fear, creating barriers to safety, mobility, and economic opportunity. Simultaneously, mass incarceration is fueled, as the streets form to provide a foundation of support, identity, and means of survival.

"I didn't know I was a gang member until a judge told me I was."

In cities like Boston, just a few hundred individuals are involved in more than half of all gun violence. 

1% of

youth

Involved in

50% of gun

violence

While the challenges seems insurmountable, by reaching a relatively small number of high impact young people, we can dramatically influence the system.

HIGH COST, LOW

REWARD

For decades, the response to street violence has been largely a containment strategy, where disenfranchised young people of color are locked up to only later be released in a more vulnerable position, with fewer resources, and less hope.

 

Despite the massive increase in the size and cost of America’s correctional system, the national recidivism rate and associated costs remain high and are increasing each year.

Nationwide, the USA spends over 80 billion dollars a year locking people up. When we factor in the social costs, the annual expense grows to over 1 trillion dollars.

Direct cost to house just one inmate in Massachusetts.

$55,170

EACH YEAR

67% of former inmates are re-arrested for a new crime within 3 years of being released.

ICW WORKS WHERE POLICY DOES NOT.

Today, ICW exists to amplify the voice and agency of people most impacted by mass incarceration - the true experts in the field.

 

We’ve grown by partnering alongside individuals. Students and trainers at ICW have been born into historical inequities that have had generational impact on their families and are difficult to overcome. Yet, they have found ways to survive through the challenges and obstacles, and to thrive through perseverance, devotion, and resilience.

As a community, ICW transcends fear and cultural barriers, where people gain unique insight through personal connection. It is a place where people belong, together.

Where policy has failed, ICW has succeeded in earning trust, creating hope, bridging social capital, and increasing opportunity for economic mobility.

STAGE I

EARN TRUST

 Stage I is focused on building strong relationships between students and staff. Growth at ICW is contingent on trust. ICW staff practice an unwavering commitment to students through deliberate and resilient outreach, finding opportunities for genuine connection through weight training or recreational activities.

At this stage, we measure:

  • The number of interactions between staff and students

  • Requests for help by students

  • Student visits to an ICW facility

  • Completion of intake & assessment forms

 

STAGE II

BUILD HOPE

Stage II is focused on building students’ hope for an alternative path. Most of our students who come to ICW have a 6 month outlook of death or jail. Together with staff, students identify new goals and begin taking advantage of ICW’s many services, including working toward their ICW training certification.

At this stage, we measure:

  • Students' progress on the ICW certification

  • Students' progress on Individual Advancement Plans

STAGE III

Social Capital

During Stage III, students form relationships with clients from opposite socioeconomic backgrounds, bridging social capital,  and creating a dynamic support network. We have learned that street violence is grounded in racial segregation and opportunity isolation. Stage III addresses this phenomenon directly. 

At this stage, we measure:

  • How many new network connections students can leverage

  • Number of external job placements for students, including wage level

  • We also measure examples of advocacy from the network

STAGE IV

Economic Mobility

In Stage IV, students from household incomes of less than $10k/year begin to make a sustainable wage, whether through personal training or some other industry. Most of our students are accustomed to meeting their financial needs in the streets. By reaching Stage IV, students no longer have to rely on destructive methods of earning a living.

At this stage, we measure:

  • Students earning an income of $30,000 or more through training

  • Students earning an income of $30,000 or more through an alternative career

 

IMPACT MODEL

InnerCity Weightlifting

PO Box 171313

Boston MA 02117

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