The purpose of our Criminal Justice System is to hold people accountable for criminal behavior. When a court imposes a period of incarceration either in jail or in prison, it is essential that sanction is imposed in a manner that is consistent with our constitution and laws. It is also important that we work to make the period of incarceration as productive as possible.
The purpose of Re-Entry programs is to provide motivated individuals with an opportunity to successfully transition back into our community upon release. These programs typically focus on five areas of concern;
While not every facility addresses all five of these concerns, incremental improvement in any of these areas has been shown to reduce crime and improve overall community safety.
Two years ago, I recognized a need to have individual dedicated to our re-entry efforts. I collaborated with Sheriff Kirk and the County Commissioners to create a Re-Entry Specialist position. We hired an experienced and talented person for this role and our re-entry programs have benefitted from this level of commitment.
As Jail Administrator, I have implemented several programs to support successful re-entry. Adult education programs have been available for many years and are popular. Life Skills classes covering topics such as anger management, personal finance, parenting, and job skills are also available.
More recently, we have partnered with RELLIS campus and Blinn College to offer an innovative workforce education program called the Facility Maintenance Program. The program is designed to provide a thorough education in the area of facility maintenance. The program awards nationally recognized certifications upon successful completion and increases the chance for job placement upon release.
Another program we are proud to have implemented is called Decision Points. This cognitive behavior program gives participants the tools they need to make better choices.
These programs reduce crime, increase life chances, and help make Brazos County a great place to live.