County convenes reentry coalition to help those returning to the community

Melanie Snyder, Consultant for Reentry, Trauma, Resilience and Trauma-Informed Care, leads Chester County’s Reentry Coalition kick-off meeting.

The Chester County Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB) held a kickoff meeting of the Chester County Reentry Coalition on June 1 to develop a strategic plan that supports those reintegrating into the community after being in prison.  In addition to County court-related departments, the Reentry Coalition partners include County Human Services and Health departments, treatment agencies, state and federal agencies, law enforcement, faith-based groups, community groups, and reentrants.

In a joint statement, Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline said, “We commend CJAB’s commitment to developing a long-term reentry plan that assists formerly incarcerated people to reintegrate successfully into our community. Helping individuals find housing, employment, transportation, education, and other supports not only reduces crime and improves public safety, but it also gives them what they need to become healthy, contributing members of society.

“Thank you to all the partners for putting in the time and effort to bring the Reentry Coalition to fruition.”

Chester County Chief Probation Officer Chris Pawlowski said, “It takes time, engagement, and collaboration to increase the likelihood of successful reintegration. And those are investments we must make to ensure formerly incarcerated individuals become productive members of our communities, reduce recidivism, and keep Chester County safe.”

The Reentry Coalition will provide a continuum of services – ranging from mentoring to community, mental health, and substance use disorder support – that begin when an offender is sentenced, continuing through incarceration and release to the community.

Over the coming months, members of the Reentry Coalition will meet to prepare and review the strategic plan, and CJAB hopes to finalize it for implementation by the end of 2023.

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