This month marks the end of the Institute program iR3, a three-year commitment to bringing people together to propose new solutions to the high recidivism rate in Arkansas.

Incarceration: Recidivism, Reentry, and Reunification (iR3) began in 2020 with the help of program partner Restore Hope Arkansas. Since then, the Institute has facilitated 72 working group meetings, 10 focus groups, six two-day conferences, and almost 2,000 hours of in-person and virtual work toward our cohort’s goals. Our team of facilitators applied their knowledge and experience to ensure participants were building toward tangible outcomes, even through the COVID-19 pandemic and a state election cycle.

We were honored to welcome Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin via video call during our last iR3 convening on September 11. Griffin announced that his office is committing $1 million toward piloting the alternative sentencing recommendations developed by our program’s working groups, with future funding possible after further study. These recommendations will be piloted at ten Arkansas district courts. Click here to watch the full announcement.

Paul Chapman

Executive Director, Restore Hope Arkansas

“This last meeting was a chance to reflect on all that’s been done. And I knew it was a lot. But, frankly, I was surprised today by how much has been accomplished. I look at the goals identified three years ago, and now there’s a collaboration happening across the state. This would not have happened had we not been at the Institute. I’m very grateful to the staff here.”

Additional outcomes of iR3 include the production of Smart Justice, an original magazine and podcast dedicated to telling stories of successful reentry, and a burgeoning network through Arkansas 2-1-1 to centralize and share reentry resources. The working groups have also created a playbook of best practices for alternative sentencing and diversionary programs that judges across the state can share. This exciting tool will be made available later this year.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work done by both my colleagues and the participants,” Kimberly Bolin, Institute program officer, said. “When iR3 began, we were inspired by Gov. Rockefeller’s commitment to prison reform. We wanted to make a difference in the penal system as it is now, and with Arkansas’s recidivism rate hovering around 50 percent, we knew we could make progress through collaboration with a great partner like Restore Hope Arkansas.”

Just as Winthrop Rockefeller changed the prison landscape of his day, this effort has delivered meaningful solutions to combating recidivism at all levels. iR3 was a full-sector collaboration that illuminated the shared burdens of all involved, including corrections officials, families, legislators, judicial members, lawyers, nonprofit and community groups, and the formerly incarcerated.

We sincerely thank our participants who gave so much of their time, talent, care, and ideas to this program while continuing their own professional work in this field. We also commend our staff for continuing Winthrop Rockefeller’s legacy of quality hospitality and the many great meals shared with this cohort.

This work would not be possible without a process we call the Rockefeller Ethic. Winthrop Rockefeller showed Arkansans that by combining collaborative problem solving, respectful dialogue, and diversity of opinion, the change we make together is transformational. This process guides not only Institute programs like iR3 but everything we do.

Charlotte Douglas

iR3 Participant and Retired State Legislator

“The staff at the Institute was integral in taking on an overwhelming task with hundreds of to-dos and making us focus on consolidating priorities that we could accomplish. The Rockefeller Ethic brings a collaborative process that is key to consensus building, which leads to positive change in our communities.”

The Rockefeller Ethic — coupled with our unique mountaintop location, seasoned facilitators, and friendly staff — fosters the necessary environment for initiatives like iR3 to thrive and for our guests to do their best work. Though this program has ended, we delight in knowing this work will continue because of the connections made over the last three years.


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    Max Avery on September 21, 2023

    Fantastic work on this project – it is great to see all the positive results of this program. Thanks to all involved.

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