Pioneer serves people released from prison or jail in Washington State, and those in recovery from addiction, who are in need of treatment, housing and job skills training. Our mission as a social enterprise is to provide individuals with criminal histories the opportunity to lead healthy, productive lives.

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Labels Create Barriers

We believe that words are powerful and can be very stigmatizing and harmful when used to label our citizens who are or were formerly incarcerated. Let’s be clear, the individuals are first and foremost human beings!

We all need to remember that people released from prison or jail share common and descriptive names with everyone else in society to include: grandparent, parent, son and daughter, extended family member, friend, neighbor, colleague and employee. These are the only type of names that should ever be used to describe a person.

When talking about people who have been involved in the criminal justice system, here are labels to avoid and terms that are acceptable:

NEVER USE

Convict

ex-Con

Inmate

ex-Inmate

Offender

ex-Offender

Criminal

Prisoner

Felon

ex-Felon

Parolee

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NEWS

Did you know that Pioneer operates the Spruce Street Inn for youth in crisis in Seattle? The center provides a safe place and residential services for at-risk youth. Spruce Street is one of a few select programs in....Read more >>

Pioneer’s housing programs offer support and stability for individuals and families. Our development team initiated a fund raising campaign at our past Change Maker event to support a pilot project called Tacoma....Read more >>

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Melissa now works at Pioneer Industries and knows firsthand that serving time and being released from prison do not mean you get a clean slate. She was one of those parents who showed up to all of the PTA meetings and....Read more >>