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Tri-County Safe Return program hosts open house

Program assists former inmates to readjust to life outside of jail

Tri-County Safe Return program hosts open house
Program assists former inmates to readjust to life outside of jail 

(Washington Twp., NJ) – Freeholder Jim Jefferson attended an open house hosted by the Volunteers of America to highlight their Tri-County Safe Return Program. The program is an initiative that provides employment, housing, substance abuse counseling, and other assistance to individuals returning to Atlantic City, City of Trenton, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties from incarceration and is not under any criminal justice supervision.

During the event information was given about the services available to ex-offenders through the Safe Return Program including mental health and substance abuse treatment, job training, educational placement assistance, employment assistance, referral to medical providers, housing assistance, assistance obtaining medical Insurance, and many other services. Tours of the new facility located in Washington Township were also given to attendees.

Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said, "With the Tri-County Safe Return program now located within our community, we are able to reach out to those who are being released from prison and help back on their feet and adjusting to their new lives."

Freeholder Jim Jefferson, liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services, said, “In this time of big changes for these ex-offenders it is important that we provide them with any help they may need in the readjustment process in order to make things less stressful for them.”

Beginning with programs in Trenton and Atlantic City, Safe Return began a county-wide program in Camden County last fall, and are now beginning a Tri-County program (Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland). Recently, the program has been working to increase medically assisted drug rehabilitation treatment options for inmates and have begun to partner more with VOA to help make sure inmates have a seamless transition into services when they leave the jail.

Freeholder Dan Christy, liaison to the Department of Corrections, said, “By assisting former inmates in readjusting to life outside of jail we are assisting in attempting to lower the risk of a repeat offense. The more adjusted an ex-offender is able to become once they are released, the less likely they will be to return to their old lifestyle.”

Pictured: Gloucester County Warden Caldwell, Dr. Kathleen Spinosi and JaNet Dingle of the Safe Return program, and Freeholder Jim Jefferson
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