A Community Designed for 
Self-Cultivation and Personal Advancement

The Principle behind Our Focus

We believe that people who are facing the challenges of social and economic reentry after incarceration should not have the added burden of being left to fend for themselves without support.

Leadership and Legacy

The Rebound Institute is a logical extension of Project Rebound, founded at San Francisco State University more than 50 years ago to support formerly incarcerated students as they pursue their higher-education goals. Project Rebound leaders have identified gaps in resources and services that impede the transition into campus and community life. The recognition of the layers fundamentally connected to the reintegration process is the inspiration behind the Rebound Institute.

Since 2016, Project Rebound students systemwide have earned an overall 3.0 GPA and have a 0% recidivism rate, while 87% of its graduates have secured full-time jobs or admission to postgraduate programs.

By addressing the interconnected need for housing, employment, legal support, life-skills training and education, the Rebound Institute complements the Project Rebound legacy.

Student Reading A Book
The Rebound Institute is a logical extension of Project Rebound, founded at San Francisco State University more than 50 years ago.

Meeting the Need

The Rebound Institute will provide a one-stop setting run by staff – many of whom have been impacted by the criminal-justice system themselves – who will work to ease the stress of program participants having to navigate complex challenges on their own.

We will strive to foster a seamless transition for those who are motivated, yet unsure of how to start their life in a new and changing world. The Institute team will routinely visit prisons and jails that have traditionally offered vocational-based training in custody, but without a plan for a handoff to employers after release.

The Institute’s hands-on approach to supporting the formerly incarcerated and others involved in the criminal-justice system as they pursue a safe living space, education and employment opportunities will draw upon individuals’ skills upon release. In partnership with Bay Area law schools and attorneys, the Institute also will provide opportunities that connect law students and others interested in reforming the criminal-justice system with program participants on a variety of legal issues.

Rebound Classroom
”After being released from prison, I now recognize, having support from family is comforting, but having the support from people who have successfully navigated prison reentry themselves is incredibly empowering.”
Jason Bell, Programs Director, CSU Project Rebound Consortium

Implementing a “Next Step” Model

Experienced counselors will tailor participants’ plans to their interests and aspirations, and never attempt to make them fit into a preexisting idea of success.

Our program embraces formerly incarcerated individuals at all educational levels – whether they are working toward a GED or an associate’s degree, either as a path to earning a bachelor’s degree or learning a trade for career advancement, or pursuing a graduate degree to further climb the academic ladder of success.

Program Goals

  • An individualized program of essential services that bridge gaps in reentry and offer a seamless transition back into community life.
  • An inclusive, safe, inspiring place for Rebound Institute participants, residents, staff and visitors.
  • Active community gathering spaces, workshops and classrooms that facilitate connections, empathy and trust, and enable individuals to feel valued and empowered to make positive change.
  • A supportive community that reflects our vision and values and the diversity of every participant.

Interconnected Program Components

The Rebound Institute is a multi-faceted program designed to meet the full range of participants’ needs. Its major components include:

Supportive Housing

Finding appropriate and affordable housing is a constant challenge for people returning to the community. Our supportive housing model will provide a foundation and launch for 20 residents at any one time. Housing will be offered year-round, ideally in a 24-month cycle, which is the time it normally takes to earn an associate’s or complete a bachelor’s degree as a transfer student.

Skills Workshops – Artisan Spaces

The pressure to find a job without adequate preparation or skills creates tremendous anxiety at the vulnerable point of reentry. Fully equipped workshops will allow participants to practice their job skills as barbers, upholsterers, tattoo artists and opticians. Individuals released from prisons in and around the Bay Area (San Quentin, Soledad, Avenal and Elmwood) will have a place to apply the craft they have learned in prison to financially support themselves while in school.

Legal Advocacy Clinic

We will partner with advocates and law schools to develop a legal clinic that assists participants in obtaining certificates of rehabilitation, judicial clearance and record expungement. Emphasis also will be given to helping participants understand their rights to pursue professional licenses for a variety of careers.

With an eye toward potential job and business opportunities, we will also offer introductions to the legal profession and cannabis decriminalization and state/local cannabis-equity programs for implementing the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulatory and Safety Act. We also hope to add fellows and research assistants to our legal and policy efforts.

Community Spaces

Shared community space – whether a multi-use classroom, conference room or courtyard – will connect and support the Rebound Institute’s major components. An ample teaching kitchen will be a social center – a place where participants learn basic culinary skills and come together as a community.

Uphostery Studio
Community Room

Options for Institute Development

There are options for implementing the Rebound Institute buildout: (1) new construction, (2) renovation of an existing building or (3) leasing space in partnership with another development under design or construction as a way to fulfill its affordable-housing requirement. We will explore all options.

While new construction would allow us to shape the Institute’s physical environment most directly, the viability of this option depends on site availability and overall cost. Ideally, the Institute will be located within a short distance of the SF State campus (within 5-10 minutes walking, biking or by transit). As a consequence of the pandemic, the current high vacancy rate of retail and office space in San Francisco and the East Bay could provide opportunities for us to renovate existing space.


The Rebound Institute’s components – housing, workshops, legal advocacy and community space – are interrelated. Therefore, it would be best to develop all program components concurrently if possible. However, depending on the timing required to develop strategic partnerships and secure financing, we will consider options to phase in program components or implement single elements as pilot projects.

Phasing possibilities could include, for example, modest renovation of an existing building to house a smaller number of residents and one workshop space. The Legal Clinic could be housed in vacant office or retail space, for example, while we gather the resources to build the full Institute.