For Returning Citizens, Leaving Prison Is Not An Event...
... It's The Beginning Of A Difficult Journey.
As returning citizens transition from prison back to their communities, they encounter many barriers, challenges, and harmful stigmas that can prevent them from successfully rebuilding their lives:
Lack Of Basic Necessities Like Hygiene Items and Clothing.
Difficulty Finding Affordable Housing.
Finding Meaningful Employment
Inadequate Mental Health Services
Very Little Peer Support, Mentorship, or Compassion.
The stress, anxiety, loneliness, depression, and frustration of these daily challenges will often lead them to the worst outcome possible... back to prison.
Battle Tested Walks Alongside Transitioning Citizens.
For As Long As It Takes.
James "Battle Tested" Clay, Founder and Director of Battle Tested, has successfully walked this path out of the gates of incarceration and felt a strong calling to be a guide and a mentor to those starting their own reentry journey.
Who better to walk someone through the struggles and difficulties of reentry than someone who has experienced it firsthand.
Someone who can pass along what they have learned and grown from on their own journey.
Battle Tested is a community of experienced peers, mentors, and partner organizations who work together to provide the resources, skills training, education, and community connections necessary to rebuild and restore the lives of returning citizens.H
The Journey Begins With A Battle Tested Bag
Returning Citizens often walk out of prison with little more than the clothes on their back, a small sum of cash (typically less than $100), and a criminal record. That's woefully inadequate to start rebuilding a life and immediately places them below the poverty level in most cases.
It's important at the beginning of this transitioning journey to ensure basic needs are met right away.
Basic needs can be overwhelming and costly to obtain, and navigating outside the walls of prison can be frustrating, and confusing for returning citizens.
The Battle Tested Bag was created with these initial challenges in mind and contains basic necessities to help get started on the reentry journey to success. All items are new, purchased or donated just for them.
Each Battle Tested Bag is filled with what every returning citizen needs within the first few days of release:
(1) Battle Tested Logo Bag
(2) Pair of Blue Jeans
(1) Jogging Suit
(1) Dress Shirt
(1) Pack Of Underwear
(1) Pack Of Undershirts
(1) Pack Of Socks
(1) Pair Of Running Shoes
(1) Travel-Size Hygiene Kit (Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Deodorant, Soap, Floss, Shampoo, Lotion. All gender appropriate)
Non-Perishable Food Snacks
Hat/Jacket/Hoodie/Gloves (Subject To Weather)
The Journey Continues With Reliable Peer Support, Mentorship, and Experienced Guidance.
They say "it takes a village" to make great, important things happen, and we have a leadership team and partnership community dedicated to providing services, mentorship, and education to guide our transitioning citizens.
Battle Tested is committed to our mission of walking alongside them to restore and rebuild their lives, which then strengthens and heals communities.
Our community partners and volunteers participate in one of the most important aspects of a successful reentry journey...a weekly Wellness Check.
The reassurance of knowing they have people who care about their needs being met, have opportunities toward meaningful employment, and have safe, affordable housing is empowering to our returning citizens.
On June 14, 2021, I met Mr. James Clay on this day, and received my Battle Tested gear. James started this Battle Tested program for men and women, those of who are returning home from prison.
I'm grateful for having to met Mr. James Clay, he changed my life. If it hadn't been for him I would of came home to nothing or noone. I look up to Mr James Clay, I also consider him as my best friend.
Returning Citizen and First Recipient Of A Battle Tested Bag.
I just want to show gratitude. Thanks for blessing me with the Battle Tested Bag . Thanks for picking me up after coming home and thank you for connecting me with RCAA and plugging me in with the accountability and love that one needs to succeed in this community, God is good.
I just thank God for placing it on your heart to make a difference in men's and women’s lives. Keep going thank you.
Returning Citizen and Recent Recipient Of A Battle Tested Bag.