Returning Citizens Support Group (RCSG) was founded by Edwin "Chino" Ortiz, Carmelo "Melo" Ortiz, and Al Tariq Witcher when they were returning citizens to provide the re-entry supports and wrap-around services for systems impacted communities they wish they had had to have a real second chance. Since 2017, they've served more than 5,000 people effectively to not just reduce recidivism, but to thrive. Now they boast business owners, college graduates, and most importantly, community leaders.
RCSG has effectively proved that a model of wrap-around services personalized to each individual is not only possible, but provides the best outcomes. RCSG's programming covers housing, employment, clothing, food, emotional and mental health, family reunification, and service navigation.
We are 100% led by formerly incarcerated leaders born and raised in the communities we serve in Newark, NJ
Edwin 'Chino' Ortiz
Chino is a servant leader dedicated to empowering returning citizens like himself. As Co-Founder of RCSG, he has helped grow the organization to more than 300 active members and in deep partnership with dozens of organizations. Chino is a Director of the Youth Advocate Program.
Al Tariq Witcher
Tariq is passionate about creating opportunities for formerly incarcerated men and women. In 2015, he launched Around the Clock Property Management, LLC, doing property preservation. He has grown that business into a real estate portfolio in which he owns several properties and manages several more, with a focus on renting to and hiring Returning Citizens. Since his release he has earned an AA in Paralegal Studies from Essex County College and a BS in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University.
Carmelo 'Melo' Ortiz
Carmelo's mission in life is to empower returning citizens with the skillset to take ownership of their narrative. He also works as a Program Coordinator at the Youth Advocate Program, supporting returning citizens with jobs and housing referrals, transportation and other vital re-entry services. Melo is a first generation Rutgers-Newark graduate.
Islamic Cooperative was founded by Kareem Green, Mustafa Champion, Sharif Abdur Raqeeb, Wahid Abdul Malik, Hassin Kevin Stokes, and Jamil Mateen who are members of the Returning Citizens Support Group. Their work focuses on the particular needs of Muslim men and women impacted by the carceral system.
Newark Community Street Team
Youth Advocate Program
Love of Neighbor
Giving it for Tomorrow (GIFT)
Prison Justice Watch
Salvation and Social Justice
New Life Recovery
Opportunity Youth Network
My Brother's Keeper
Greater Newark Conservancy
Transformative Justice Initiative
Latino Action Network
Meet Her at the Gate
Helping Us Become Better (The HUBB)
Fountain Baptist Church
The Reformed Church of Highland Park
New Jersey Together
Seton Hall Law School