Civil Liberties

For Over 40 Years...

OAR has been protecting the civil liberties of those incarcerated in the Tompkins County Jail through the following services below including: Reentry services, Assigned Counsel intakes, and our charitable bail fund.

Bail Fund

Our nation holds people accused (but not convicted) of a crime in jail, even when they are not a threat to the public or likely to flee.  The vast majority of people held are those who are without the financial resources to pay their bail/bond.  Unable to come up with cash to post bail, these individuals spend many more days incarcerated than those with financial means. OAR’s bail fund works to reduce this injustice.

Visit our Bail Fund page to learn more.

ReEntry Services

Mata Ruda

OAR has been working with our clients to ease their reentry back into the community for many years. The growing interest in the issue has increasingly engaged more people.

OAR believes that by working with an inclusive group of organizations and individuals, greater changes lie ahead.

Visit our Resources page for more information.

Assigned Counsel

The vast majority of OAR’s incarcerated clients live below the federal poverty line.

Constitutionally, these individuals have a right to legal representation — provided in Tompkins County through the Assigned Counsel program.

OAR conducts intakes for Assigned Counsel representation four days a week at the Tompkins County Jail, guaranteeing swift assignment of legal representation.


College Initiative Upstate is a learning community of educators, students, and volunteers from Tompkins County who are working together to build pathways from criminal justice involvement to college and beyond.

We can help you: choose a college, apply for financial aid, work with outstanding student loans, receive tutoring, engage in college readiness courses, get wrap-around support during the application process. Give us a call to see if college is right for you.

Visit our CIU page to learn more.


Liaison Services


At OAR, we offer comprehensive liaison services between you and different entities in the community.

Getting you the support you need is our number one goal, whether you are incarcerated or not.

We maintain a direct line for receiving phone calls from clients at the Tompkins County Jail.

This allows people incarcerated to stay in contact with loved ones and allows our staff to relay messages from lawyers, employers, landlords, and family members.

We also provide one stamped envelope a week to ensure everyone maintains their right of communication, as well as set up phone appointments for family members to come talk to their loved ones at the Tompkins County Jail for free.

We work with a wonderful group of volunteers to provide free transportation for those who wish to visit their loved ones at the Tompkins County Jail.


Community Partners

We are here to activate a network of services so that you can maintain family and community ties, access available resources and support, and reduce the negative consequences of incarceration. The organizations we work with provide:

  • Legal Assistance
  • Social Services
  • Healthcare
  • Mental Health Support
  • Housing Assistance
  • Employment Guidance
  • Educational Services
  • Substance Abuse Treatment and Support
  • Religious Services


Help us grow our unique programs

Artist photos above via the amplifier foundation