April is Second Chance Month and Reentry Week was April 25-29, 2022. Reentry Week is recognized nationwide and focuses on successful reentry of those returning from incarceration. At the Geauga County Jail there were several events taking place throughout the week. Representatives from various agencies volunteered their time to discuss topics that are specific to reentry.
Second Chance Programs – Legal Aid Society of Cleveland – Topics: Bankruptcy, Financial issues such as over-payments of government benefits, collections, liens, judgments resulting from court costs and fines, child support payment plans, Criminal record sealing, Certificate of Qualification for Employment (lifts sanction to apply for employment), and pardons.
Employment and Education – Ohio Means Jobs (OMJ) – Topics: Career Center Services (job applications, email accounts, resume writing, document scanning, printing and faxing, assessments (pre-employment, TABE), typing and Microsoft Office Training, Job Hunting Handbook (50 tough interview questions, resume examples), job application passport, Information about background checks, and Occupational Projections in Ohio. Information about Gale Courses (professional development, technology, and personal enrichment) that are offered free of charge for library patrons. Applications and contact information for local employers that are open to hiring individuals with a criminal background.
Housing – Information about Fair Housing Resource Center (rental assistance programs for first months’ rent and utility deposits), Housing Choice Vouchers and Public Housing. energy assistance programs (HEAP, PIPP, and the Home Weatherization Program). Applications for public housing were made available along with crimes that may disqualify an applicant. Information about short term housing (shelters, sober living and transitional housing, Extended Housing (Lake County), and information about subsidized and income-based housing and apartment complexes in Geauga and the surrounding areas.
Behavioral Health/Substance Abuse – Family Pride of Northeast Ohio (individual, couples, and family counseling, school-based programming, reentry program), Red Tulip Project (Ohio Recovery Housing certified residence for women in Geauga County). Information about substance abuse recovery and mental health services in Geauga and neighboring counties.
Social Support – Catholic Charities (support groups for grief and caregivers of children whose parents have been impacted by opiate use. Getting Ahead Self-Sufficiency group), Ravenwood Adult Supportive Services and Peer Support, Geauga County Resource Center, and Citizen Circle (meets on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at the GC Library Admin Bldg from 12p – 2p), Information about the NorthStar Neighborhood Reentry Resource (Cuyahoga) and the West Side Catholic Center (Cuyahoga).
Overall, these are members of our communities and they need to feel supported as they return from incarceration. Bringing in representatives from various community agencies was intended to demonstrate to the inmates there are services available to them in every community and that they have allies to help them navigate the reentry process. The participants report being residents of Geauga, Lake, Cuyahoga, Summit, and Ashtabula counties.
We are so humbled to be apart of Reentry Week to aid in helping incarcerated men and women successfully transition back into the community. We would also like to thank our Reentry Case Manager, Erin Mooneesawny, for putting together such an impactful week of resources!