You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

New program to help ex-inmates readjust

Urbana 12-week course will involved churches, community groups.


A new program that began in Champaign County last week will help former inmates get back on their feet by connecting them with the services and personal contacts they’ll need to readjust to freedom.

Other programs are available to help inmates locally, said Pete Yost, a Workforce Investment Act coordinator for the Champaign County Department of Job and Family Services. But many of those are 12-step programs designed to deal with mental or drug problems, said Yost, who started the new Second Step program.

What separates this 12-week course, Yost said, is that its goal is to connect former inmates with area church and community leaders, and help them find the resources they need to volunteer, get to work or, if needed, simply find a place to live. The program was made possible in part due to a $4,000 grant from the Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services Board of Logan and Champaign Counties and with assistance from Renew Your Strength Ministries.

“We didn’t just want to focus on problems but find steps to take to find new patterns of behavior,” Yost said.

The program will last 12 weeks, with workshops hosted at Urbana United Methodist Church at the corner of North Main and Church streets. A typical workshop could last one to two hours and include guest speakers, information sessions on the resources available locally, and possibly refreshments and some entertainment.

One of the key components of the program in the first 12 weeks will be compiling a reference guide that lists where the individuals can get help finding food, transportation or shelter and offering other programs and agencies the individuals can turn to for help. The guide will eventually be provided to the Tri-County Jail as well as area social service agencies and churches.

The program also provides ex-offenders with a chance to relax and break their normal routine, Yost said. Many inmates might face issues ranging from drug addiction to chronic depression. The program might give them a break from their daily struggles, even if it’s only for an hour.

“There’s nothing like spending 24 hours a day thinking about your problems,” Yost said.

Dave Faulkner, Champaign County commissioner, spoke to participants in the first session last week. He discussed constructive ways to solve problems. Helping former inmates readjust successfully can help not just the individuals involved, but can also benefit the county in other ways, such as keeping the jail population down and cutting down on court costs.

“A lot of these people that are in there, they’re not bad people, they just made bad choices,” Faulkner said.

Another goal will be to help former inmates volunteer where they might be able to make the connections they need to eventually find work, Yost said. Even without the grant, Yost believes the program can continue as long as it is successful.

“We’re trying to build lasting relationships,” Yost said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Crime

Georgia women’s college trying to atone for Ku Klux Klan legacy
Georgia women’s college trying to atone for Ku Klux Klan legacy

Like other first year students corralled in Wesleyan College’s auditorium in Macon, Georgia, Dana Amihere didn’t know what to make of the spectacle unfolding on stage. It was fall 2006 and the freshman had been awakened in the dead of night. A group of sophomores stood on stage yelling, screaming and cheering as part of a hazing ritual...
Janet Jackson loving motherhood as she gets back into her music, producer says
Janet Jackson loving motherhood as she gets back into her music, producer says

Janet Jackson welcomed her very first child, son Eissa, in January and is having a great time being a mom! “She’s so happy,” her longtime producer, Jimmy Jam, told Entertainment Tonight. “I get FaceTime [calls] at like two in the morning, usually when I’m wrapping up in the studio. It’s always just Isa [on FaceTime]...
Gov. John Kasich’s website hacked
Gov. John Kasich’s website hacked

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s website was hacked today by a grouip claiming to support the Islamic State. The Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was also hacked. A screen appeared saying: “Anti: Govt all word. You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people. For every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries. I love...
Woman dragged through parking lot trying to retrieve stolen purse
Woman dragged through parking lot trying to retrieve stolen purse

A man who allegedly stole a woman’s purse at a South Florida gas station dragged the victim with his car when she tried to get her purse back.  The woman was pumping gas at a Broward County station on June 2 when Robert Flagg, 19, broke her car window, grabbed her purse and tried to make a getaway in his car, according to NBC 6 Miami. When...
Watch: Girl falls 25 feet from Six Flags ride, caught by other park guests
Watch: Girl falls 25 feet from Six Flags ride, caught by other park guests

A 14-year-old girl fell 25 feet from a gondola ride at Six Flags Amusement Park in Queensbury, New York, Saturday night as a group of park guests gathered under her to help break her fall. The “Sky Ride” was stopped at the park about 55 miles north of Albany when the accident happened, according to CBS News. The teenager was on the ride...
More Stories