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DPS Creates Reentry Councils
Written by Staff   
Monday, 11 December 2017 17:48

RALEIGH -- The Department of Public Safety is awarding contracts to five organizations to establish new reentry councils in Onslow, Jones, Guilford, Pamlico, Craven, Forsyth and Cumberland counties to help people released from prison transition back into their communities and to help communities prevent repeat offenders.

A contract for $149,976.55 will go to the Guilford County Government for the Guilford County Local Reentry Council. Contracts for $150,000 each will go to the Piedmont Triad Regional Council in Forsyth County and Action Pathways, Inc., in Cumberland County. Contracts of $225,000 each will go to Tri-Counties Crusaders in Onslow/Jones counties and Eastern Carolina Council of Governments in Pamlico/Craven counties. These funds will help start local reentry councils in those areas.

Reentry councils are networks of community-based organizations that work together to assist people returning from prison with necessary local services like housing, employment, food, clothing, treatment, transportation and mentoring. Their mission is to develop and coordinate resources to help people released from prison transition back into the community and to reduce the number of repeat offenders.

“When people have served their time, we want them to become productive members of society for their own success and for the safety and success of our communities," Governor Roy Cooper said. "Reentry councils make a real difference helping people leaving prison to find a place to live and a job."

The contracts for five new reentry councils are being funded through a $1.75 million federal grant which the Department of Public Safety received in October 2015 from the Bureau of Justice Assistance to enhance transitional services, expand reentry councils and continue reforms begun under the Justice Reinvestment Act in 2011. In addition to providing funding for the local reentry council expansion, the federal grant will be used to increase reentry-related programming within the state prison system, to fund step down transitional housing for inmates being released to the local reentry council areas, and to assist in appropriately matching programs and services to offender needs.

The reentry councils are stakeholders of the State Reentry Council Collaborative, chaired by Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks. The collaborative – which includes representatives from DPS, the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Division of Motor Vehicles, the Administrative Office of the Courts, the N.C. Community College System, non-profits, the faith community, and formerly incarcerated individuals – is examining the needs of people being released from prison and ways to help them successfully reintegrate into their communities. The group is also focusing on increasing the effectiveness of local reentry councils.

“Reentry councils play an important role in helping former inmates find services they need to successfully return to their communities,” said Secretary Hooks. “About 23,000 people are released from prison in North Carolina each year, and we need these resources statewide to help them restart their lives and not return to prison.”

Five reentry councils began operating in 2013 in Buncombe, Mecklenburg, Pitt, Hoke/Robeson/Scotland, and Nash/Edgecombe/Wilson counties. Earlier this year, reentry councils were established in Wake, Durham, New Hanover and McDowell counties.

On Nov. 17, Governor Cooper’s office and DPS convened a group of more than 70 experts working to help people leaving prison successfully transition into communities across the state. The purpose of the full-day meeting was to give local reentry councils the opportunity to learn from each other and share successful strategies. Guest speakers also presented on how the councils can more effectively engage with the faith community and other community organizations. Representatives from all 14 local reentry councils, including the five new councils, participated along with elected officials, nonprofit leaders, and community college representatives.




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