In addition working on legislative issues concerning offenders and ex-offenders, the Council is currently working on a project to establish Community Reentry Councils for Ex-Offenders in each probation/parole region in West Virginia. Community Reentry Councils bring together human services, faith communities, corrections, law enforcement, courts, and social services agencies in order to address barriers to reentry such as housing, employment, behavioral health, substance abuse, family services and help resource positive youth development, benefits, and food assistance. They identify community assets and service gaps, maximizing effective use of existing resources through collaboration.
The Council will also sponsor Building Community Bridges training. This training focuses on barriers to reentry, expectations from ex-offenders, connecting with employers, improving outcomes through collaboration, developing interventions, implementing effective strategies, and educating the community. The training is also applicable to returning veterans and those returning from inpatient substance use disorder recovery. Our target audience includes clergy and laity from local churches, social service agencies, corrections and law enforcement, social workers, and persons with relatives in the correctional system.
The Council has successfully established a Community Reentry Council in Kanawha County, which meets on the second Wednesday of the month at the Goodwill Prosperity Center in Charleston. We are also working to establish Community Reentry Councils in Beckley and in Grant County.
For more information on the Community Reentry Councils or the Building Community Bridges training, please contact Beverly Sharp at firstname.lastname@example.org.