Cleveland Mediation Center Receives Funding for Correctional Re-entry Program


CLEVELAND – FrontLine Service’s Cleveland Mediation Center (CMC) has started a new program in our community to connect individuals returning from prison with their family members.

Funded by the JAMS Foundation and the National Association for Community Mediation and in partnership with Oriana House and FrontLine Service’s Children of Incarcerated Parents Program, CMC is mediating with fathers at Oriana House’s Community Based Correctional Facility (CBCF) and caregivers of their children. The goal of the mediation is to create a Family Focused Re-Entry plan to aid fathers preparing to leave the CBCF, re-enter the community, and reconnect with their family.

“Cleveland Mediation Center is proud to participate in this effort to resolve conflicts between formerly incarcerated adults and their family members,” said CMC Director Danielle Cosgrove. “We also see this as a way to help formerly incarcerated adults reintegrate into the larger community as well.”

How It Works

Oriana House first refers clients to CMC and the Re-Entry Mediation Advocate—or “mediator”— who will outreach to the client to explain the mediation process. If the client wishes to proceed, the mediator will assist the client in identifying areas they would like to focus on as it relates to their family members. The client may discuss any topic of concern, but the Mediator will invite the client to reflect on:

  • Who in the client’s life will socially and emotionally support them after their release?

  • What will be the custody and visitation arrangement with the client’s children?

  • Where will the client stay?

  • Are any of the client’s relationships impacted by the behavior that led to their incarceration?

From this discussion, the mediator and client will identify whom the client would like to strengthen relationships with. The mediator will then reach out to each identified person, explain the process and the goal, and ask the connection whether they would like to participate in mediation. If yes, the mediator will gather additional information about the connection’s perception, experience, and concern. The mediator will invite the connection to bring up anything they wish during the mediation and then schedule a time for them to meet.

The mediator will facilitate a mediation at the CBCF between the client and their child’s caregiver. During the first session, the mediator will encourage the parties to talk about their concerns. The mediator will guide the client and their support person to think collaboratively about the challenge they’re facing. Discussions might include how to navigate custody arrangements, or types of support the friend or family member is willing or not willing to provide, such as rides to job interviews, a place to sleep, or late-night phone calls.

From the initial session, The Mediator will work with the parties to identify what additional discussions might be required to create a Family-Focused Reentry Plan (FFRP) to prepare for and overcome reentry barriers. 2-to-4 weeks after the client exits the CBCF, the Mediator will schedule a follow-up session to check-in with the parties to see how things are going. As needed, the Mediator will support the parties in making modifications to the FFRP.

Find Our Story Here

To learn more about CMC and its re-entry program, visit here to read about a story about how a CMC advocate helped a formerly incarcerated father and husband reunite with his family.

For more information about CMC or the re-entry program, contact FrontLine Service Communications Specialist Bruce Walton at 216-336-6977 or bruce.walton@frontlineservice.org

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About Cleveland Mediation Center

The Cleveland Mediation Center is a program of FrontLine Service. CMC promotes just and peaceful community in Northeast Ohio. It accomplishes this by honoring all people, building their capacity to act, and facilitating opportunities for them to engage in conflict constructively.


About FrontLine Service

FrontLine Service reaches out and serves those that are vulnerable in our community – children traumatized by violence, people who are homeless, and those struggling with mental illness or suicidal thoughts – with empathy and commitment to their dignity.

Our Mission Statement: Reaching out to adults and children in Northeast Ohio to end homelessness, prevent suicide, resolve behavioral health crises, and overcome trauma.

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