Corrections department holds conference

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Missouri Department of Corrections probation and parole staff and various partners throughout Southeast Missouri met March 26 in Cape Girardeau to discuss issues surrounding criminal offenders re-entering society after serving their sentence. Speakers at the conference included George Lombardi, director of the Department of Corrections, and Bill Dent, manager of the Family and Community Trust in the Department of Social Services.

According to the Department of Corrections, offenders released without the tools to be productive members of society have a greater potential to be a threat to public safety and are at a higher risk to commit another crime.

Currently, the Department of Corrections has more than 30,000 inmates and 97 percent of them will return home to their communities throughout the state.

Some of the struggles encountered by offenders re-entering the community include finding a job, housing, transportation, and re-establishing family relationships.

Since 2002, when Missouri was chosen as a demonstration site for the transition from prison to community model, the Department of Corrections has taken steps to promote and improve the transition process of offenders leaving prison and returning to Missouri communities.

Local re-entry teams have been established to enhance the collaboration between area state agencies, law enforcement, the faith-based community, crime victims, and service or treatment providers.

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