Detroit Police Work with Parolees; Federal Funding May Be Ending


A federally-funded program helps Detroit police officers work closely with former inmates, says the Detroit News. The program, New Beginnings, pairs police officers with the men for a personal push to change lives. The first class graduated Sunday, but the program — launched this year as a partner in jail-based re-entry efforts by the Detroit-based Chance for Life Organization — may see its federal funding dry up after a second class begins.

Parolees discuss their struggles, go on outings, and even participate in neighborhood cleanups. Officers help with resumes and resources, such as steering the parolees to housing upon graduation. “Bringing in the police helps bridge that gap between them leaving jail” and their next moves, said Jessica Taylor, a police commissioner and executive director of Chance for Life. Each week the former inmates leave a halfway home to meet with a core group of about 10 officers. Some still wearing ankle tethers, the ex-inmates attend weekly sessions focusing on re-entering the work force, anger management, and curbing the temptation to resort to old habits. A federal grant provided more than $100,000 for the program. To take part, inmates cannot commit new or violent crimes.

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