What We See Happening
Did you know …….
Criminal justice involved women and men are returning to our communities in record numbers. In Monroe County alone, several thousand individuals are released annually from local, state, and federal facilities. They struggle with sustaining positive life changes. Most return with the best intentions, but the challenges of returning to the same environment can be difficult. The barriers they face include difficulties finding safe housing, obtaining employment, enrolling in training/college, reuniting with children and family and maintaining sobriety. Stigma hinders their search for an apartment and a job. They may also face barriers while seeking substance use treatment and mental health services.
You can help…….
Research has shown that positive social relationships are crucial in helping returning citizens to avoid patterns of substance abuse or criminal behaviors. Our program links women and men with welcoming individuals. Mentors are recruited from the faith community, community organizations, colleges, and business communities. These trained individuals mentor by providing support, encouragement, guidance, and information about resources. Through a collaborative partnership between community correction’s agencies and a wide variety of community organizations, we can provide the empowering information and support that are critical to success.
Ordinary people who are good listeners that will guide women and men to become self-sufficient, successful tax-paying citizens. Mentors work as part of a team with JPC staff assistance and provide one-on-one help, advocacy, and support.
Criteria for mentors……
· Dependable, non-judgmental, mature adults (ages 21+)
· Compassionate, good communication skills, ability to listen & share
· Employed, attending school or retired
· Open to new experiences and learning, willing to ask questions and seek support from the Mentor Coordinator and other JPC Staff
· Driver’s license & auto
· If you have previously been involved in the criminal system but have 2 or more years of sobriety/ employment history and no re-arrests you may apply to mentor
How much time……
A mentor should be willing to meet for 4 or 5 months. There should be bi-weekly contact with the mentee. If you are meeting at the Monroe Correctional Facility, ideally you will be meeting for 30 to 60 minutes per visit for 2 or 3 months prior to release. After release, plan to spend time listening and helping with re-entry issues. Mentors are required to submit brief reports to Dorothy Chung, Mentor Coordinator. Communication is key and if traveling please notify your mentee and Dorothy Chung.
Mentor Training and Special Events
Training is required. Training in a group setting is offered every September. The length of training is 8 hours or 4 hours on a Monday and Tuesday night. A free hot meal and manual are provided. The trainers are experienced criminal justice professionals and are drawn from almost a dozen agencies. If you work in the human service or counseling professions we may be able to wave some of the training requirements and Dorothy Chung will provide individual training at a time and date that fits with your schedule. After completion of 2 individual training sessions, you will be required to attend the training event.
Recognition and Certificates Awarded:
After successfully completing the training and meeting requirements plus two successful mentoring matches, a certificate will be awarded! Also, every spring mentors are recognized at a special event at JPC and recognized at the JPC’s spring Fundraising Luncheon.