November 23, 2014 | Incorporating the Inter-Island News

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November 1, 2007

The Real Experts

Judy Garvey

To the editor,
Thank you for the excellent article by Craig Idlebrook about the need for Re-Entry Post-Release centers in Maine [WWF Oct. 2007]. Many men and women being released from our jails and prisons require concentrated immediate support. The Landing Center that we hope to begin in Ellsworth would be a nonresidential "drop-in" center offering networking, referrals, and encouragement. Voluminous amounts of research -- and successful projects -- have proven that this comparatively low-cost effort greatly reduces recidivism. Equally important, post-release re-entry centers help people jump-start their lives so that entire families and communities benefit from healthier citizens and less crime.

The real experts about re-entry needs are men and women who have spent time in jails or prisons. Thus, the most important Maine re-entry project is The Maine State Prison Center for Successful Re-entry: A Prisoner-Initiated Program, which is being planned by a group of men inside Maine State Prison. Mike Parker, who first conceptualized this project, writes that the Center is intended to "...provide meaningful opportunities for prisoners to build their skills and capacity to successfully re-enter their communities...." Mr. Parker clarifies the reason for prisoner-initiated planning: "...Given that America's prison systems are geared toward warehousing, intentionally or unintentionally, it is necessary for prisoners to take responsibility for their own rehabilitation...."

The MSP Re-Entry Center planners need support for this incredibly worthwhile initiative. Please learn more by contacting Rev. Dewey Fagerberg at 236-8071 or Michael J. Parker at MSP, 807 Cushing Rd., Warren, ME 04864.

Judy Garvey
Volunteers for Hancock Jail Residents
Blue Hill

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