Many initiatives are in place throughout Newport News to enhance reintegration of citizens returning from incarceration. Without a “one size fits all” solution, community partnerships are essential in bringing interested parties to the table to move towards implementing a system of care with a focus on measurable outcomes.
The Newport News Sheriff’s Office (NNSO), in partnership with the Virginia Workforce Center, sponsors “A New Beginning: ‘A Second Chance’ Workshop,” which is designed for those returning to communities from incarceration. This program has a direct link to post-release re-entry services that are provided by the NNSO to improve public safety. Targeted outcomes include: reduced recidivism, reduced substance abuse, reduced homelessness, improved health and wellness, increased employment, increased family connectedness, and increased collaboration.
During the two-hour workshop, guest speakers from Legal Aid Society and Division of Child Support Enforcement are available to inform returning citizens on how they can assist in their transition. Participants are encouraged to enroll in the NNSO post-release re-entry program to start receiving services many of them did not know exist. Although most individuals returning home from incarceration are in need of employment, this is just one area re-entry covers. A Second Chance represents an opportunity to successfully decrease recidivism thus saving lives, one person, family and community at a time.
Anyone who has come in contact with the criminal justice system is eligible to participate, regardless of where they reside. Most of the participants are from Newport News and Hampton; however, someone with family support on the Southside may need a referral source for services where they live.
The workshop is held every fourth Friday at 10 a.m. at the Virginia Workforce Center, 600 Butler Farm Road in Hampton.
For more information, contact Peggy Howard, executive director, community outreach/programs at the Newport News Sheriff’s Office by e-mail at [email protected] or call 926-8086.