In this issue: 3 Questions, a new way to help, and ARC, Inc.'s first year
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ARC, Inc. seeks to transform the U.S. criminal justice system by providing comprehensive and accurate life history investigation to decision-makers to in order to inform the fates of individuals facing the most severe penalties.

Client Assistance Fund

ARC, Inc.’s investigators have, collectively, nearly three decades’ history of building relationships with clients. That means hundreds of visits to prisons and countless moments of witnessing the deplorable conditions that are found there. Our clients may not share details of their experiences right away – and may take much longer to ask for help, if they ever do – but in visit after visit, their needs become clear. We care deeply about our clients’ well-being, and want to help them to meet their basic needs. 

That is why we have launched our first-ever online fundraising campaign to support the creation of a Client Assistance Fund. Meeting our campaign target of $2,500 would allow us to provide direct assistance to our clients throughout 2016.

The need for assistance is real. We have seen our clients forced to choose between eating moldy, undercooked, or rancid prison food or going hungry. We have known clients who need regular assistance with hygiene products so that they do not have to rely on the powdered toothpaste and other inadequate items provided to them. Soap is often a much-needed item, as clients report having to wash their own clothes because what they receive from the prison is still dirty and covered with stains. In some prisons, our clients are even responsible for purchasing their own toilet paper. 

In addition, support for this campaign will also go to the purchase of items such as paper and stamps for letters and to providing funds for phone calls – both crucial to being able to keep ties with loved ones. Most of our clients come from communities where it would be difficult to accept even a standard collect call. Prison calls are notoriously expensive, sometimes costing as much as $10 to $15 for a single call.

Our clients are among the most vulnerable individuals in the criminal justice system. For some, who have been entirely cut off from their home communities, their defense teams are the only people to whom they can reach out for help. Even for those with supportive family or friends, the expense required to provide adequate support may be too much. Often, relationships formed with our team members are nothing short of a lifeline. 

You might wonder how being able to offer this type of support helps our work more broadly. When clients have health issues because of inadequate nutrition or poor hygiene, it makes it much more challenging for them to engage with us during visits. Simply put, it is hard to focus when you are hungry. Likewise, clients can find themselves falling into depression due to the isolation that comes from solitary confinement and that is compounded by their inability to connect with family or friends. Sometimes, providing assistance is simply a way of showing that we can follow through on small but meaningful requests.

Your support – in any amount – will have a direct impact on the lives of ARC, Inc.’s clients. We appreciate your help in ensuring that our clients can meet their basic needs while in confinement.

Support ARC, Inc.
Three Questions
with Liz Vartkessian

Why did you start ARC, Inc.? 

"I had been working as a solo mitigation specialist for almost seven years and I began to fatigue from the realization that I could only help one client or one team at a time. I wanted to change the system, and I knew that the best way to do it would be to expand the network of highly trained life history investigators. The need for qualified life history investigators is so great and only increasing, but there are few places where those interested in doing the work can go to learn best practices. I wanted to create a national organization that set the standard for what competent life history investigation looked like, where people could come to work and receive the training needed to be effective. I hoped to create an organization that would serve as a resource for defenders around the country." 

Who are ARC, Inc.'s clients?
"We serve the most vulnerable. Our clients are those who are facing the full weight of the government's power and its ability to take life. Our clients are facing the most serious charges and usually come from the most challenging circumstances. We prioritize working on cases where the need is the greatest, so we work throughout the nation." 

What surprises you most in your work?
"I am surprised every day by the resilience of the human spirit and by the strength of many people who have lost so much to find peace and mercy for themselves and for those who have harmed them. The criminal justice system we have in place desensitizes all parties to the terrible tragedies that have led to a crime, but we don’t have to be bound by that. That is why I choose this work every day – because I believe that we can do better for each other."
2015 Annual Report
We are proud to share our first Annual Report. Click here to learn more about the milestones of 2015 - and what's ahead.
Like ARC, Inc.'s work? Learn more, spread the word, or get in touch! 
Copyright © 2016 Advancing Real Change, Inc., All rights reserved.

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