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Metro Newsroom

Mayor Announces Program to Help Integrate Inmates Into Society

Wednesday March 17, 2010

Shawnee neighborhood is focus of project after success in Newburg

Mayor Jerry Abramson announced the creation of a new program to assist recently released prisoners and jail inmates returning to the Shawnee neighborhood. The Shawnee Justice Reinvestment Pilot Project will help offenders overcome obstacles they face reintegrating into their community, such as finding housing, transportation and employment.

The project will be modeled after the Newburg Justice Re-investment Pilot Project which began in the fall of 2007.

“Connecting ex-offenders with resources and support can help them make a meaningful fresh start,” said Abramson. “It also aids public safety by helping reduce behaviors that can lead to re-offending.”

As with the Newburg program, participants must undergo a screening process. No one with a record of sexual offenses or crimes against children is admitted. Participants must also be returning to an address in the Shawnee or Newburg communities to apply.

Participants are required to meet monthly with a case manager, an appointment that usually coincides with meetings with their Probation and Parole Officer. Limited financial assistance is available for services such as counseling and treatment, job training and transportation. In exchange, participants are required to provide community service.

The Shawnee program is being funded through federal grants from the Department of Justice under the Second Chance Act. Metro Government partnered with Kentucky Department of Corrections to secure $250,000--$200,000 for the Shawnee program and $50,000 to support

re-entry programs within Louisville Metro Corrections.

“The Department of Corrections views our re-entry initiative as a new philosophy—not a new program,” said Kentucky Department of Corrections Commissioner LaDonna Thompson.

The project will include extensive partnerships within the community. A wide range of government agencies, faith-based organizations and volunteer groups will work with the program.

Participants will also attend bi-monthly meetings with the Reinvestment Neighborhood Group (RING), which was created in conjunction with the Newburg JRI program.

Ex-offenders, family, friends and community members attend meetings to share their experiences, work on issues and help the community.

“The Shawnee project is based on a model that encourages everyone in the community to get involved in the problem-solving process, working together to promote safety, reduce recidivism, and strengthen our families,” said Debora McGill, Shawnee JRI Program Coordinator.

The program is expected to begin serving participants by late spring.

Justice Reinvestment Pilot Project Partners

(Includes both Newburg and Shawnee program partners)

· District 5 , Councilwoman Cheri Bryant-Hamilton

· District 2 , Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin

· Louisville Metro Criminal Justice Commission (LMCJC)

· Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC)

· Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD)

· Community Action Partnership (CAP)

· Kentucky Department of Corrections, including District #17 and District #19 Probation and Parole Offices

· Catholic Enrichment Center

· Volunteers of America (VOA)

· Prodigal Ministries

· Newburg Ministerial Association

· Shawnee and Newburg Weed and Seed

· Nia Center