A pilot demonstration project to coordinate state and regional efforts assisting ex-offenders to reintegrate into the community is being funded by the Commissioner’s Court. The program will also be open to military personnel who face similar issues when returning home from their service.
The program will be coordinated by Redemption Bridge, an employer-led nonprofit organization focused on housing assistance, social and lifestyle services.
In April, Commissioners were briefed of ex-offender reentry and reintegration by Wes Jurey, Chairman of Texas Workforce Council. He noted that, although there are several agencies providing a variety of different services assisting those leaving jails and state corrections centers, the efforts are not coordinated.
“We lack the linkage between the state and regional resources, the county, and community,” said Jurey, adding that there’s really no direct interface involved in places it should be hence the need for the Redemption Bridge project.
Jurey made it clear that Redemption Bridge does not plan to ignore or overshadow any existing reintegration efforts, but rather work hand and hand with them on improving the process while also reducing recidivism rates, utilizing both state and county resources.
“Coordination among agencies is key to providing an expansion of services,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks said, “Wes is correct with his analysis that there are gaps in the system caused by lack of linkages between various organizations that are providing services in this reentry space.”
The services provided by this pilot demonstration are expected to include assistance in the areas of housing, employment and training, mental health services, transportation, life skills and faith-based support. The program will focus its reentry efforts on individuals being released from the county jail, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and Texas Juvenile Justice Department. Military personnel facing the same issues will also be eligible for this service.
In May, the plan was unanimously approved by the court for funding for three 12-month terms beginning October 1, 2016, and ending October 31, 2019, not to exceed $49,000 annually.
“This is the right thing to do for the county; this is the right thing to do for the people who live here,” Brooks said.
For more information contact Marc Flake, Public Information Officer, at 817-884-2535.
County Telephone Operator 817-884-1111
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