North Alabama Reentry Council Meets to Discuss New Programs
BIRMINGHAM – The North Alabama Reentry Council will meet Tuesday at Birmingham’s YWCA to discuss programs that have grown out of the council’s work to reduce criminal recidivism through better support and services to ex-offenders who are leaving prison and re-entering society, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.
The meeting is at 2 p.m. at the YWCA of Central Alabama, 309 23rd St. North. Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Kim Thomas, Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities Director Foster Cook, The Dannon Project Director Kerri Pruitt, Dr. Nicole Redmond of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Vance are among the scheduled speakers.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office led the formation of the Reentry Council last year, calling together federal, state and local corrections and probation officials, judges and representatives of law enforcement, education, social service agencies and non-profit organizations to address barriers that often hamper a successful transition from prison to society. Those needs include jobs, education, housing, transportation, and medical and mental health care. Subcommittees of the council have developed pilot programs to address some of those needs.
The programs to be discussed include a pilot project that will provide social worker interns from the University of Alabama to help inmates preparing to leave Alabama prisons; a registry of county-specific reentry support resources for the 31-county federal Northern District that will be available for state judges and probation officers; the development and implementation of a reentry strategic plan for Jefferson County; and a UAB program that will evaluate chronic health conditions of ex-offenders who are returning to Jefferson County immediately following release from prison.
Each year the State of Alabama releases more than 10,000 ex-offenders. Within three years, more than a third of them are re-incarcerated, Department of Justice and Alabama Department of Corrections statistics show.
“The best chance to break that destructive cycle is a collaborative approach designed to provide ex-offenders with adequate tools to become productive, law-abiding citizens, further protecting our communities and more effectively and efficiently managing public resources,” Vance said. “Reducing new crimes by ex-offenders also creates significant cost savings for communities,” she said.
If you believe your organization has expertise or resources that could improve outcomes for ex-offenders re-entering society, please e-mail our Community Outreach Coordinator at Jeremy.Sherer@usdoj.gov
or call 205-244-2019.