Category: 2011
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Reentry experts from Spectrum Health Systems recently joined officials from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and other federal agencies, formerly incarcerated individuals, and other practitioners in Washington, DC for the Second Chance Act (SCA) national conference.

The conference is an annual event designed to share best practices for assisting individuals releasing from adult and juvenile correctional facilities. Spectrum was invited to participate as part of its FY2010 Second Chance Act grant awards.

"The conference presented an invaluable 360-degree look at reintegration. The dialogue was especially helpful in terms of developing programmatic strategies for coalition-building, media relations, data management and interfacing with local law enforcement," said Earl Warren, director of correctional services for Spectrum in Massachusetts.  A veteran of prisoner reentry, Warren oversees Project Peer Connection, Spectrum's DOJ-grant-funded peer mentoring program for state prisoners with substance use disorders returning to Worcester County. 

Project Peer Connection offers peer mentoring to offenders who complete an in-prison substance abuse treatment program and plan to live in Worcester County upon release.  Mentors serve as liaisons to help facilitate access to employment, job training, treatment services, life skills training, and other needed services. Spectrum was one of only 50 successful mentoring applicants selected from more than 600 total applicants.

Also participating in the conference was Spectrum Inpatient Division Clinical Director Kendra Marien. Marien oversees Strengthening Families in Transition, an SCA-funded Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC) project that provides family case management, transitional housing and child care services to support female offenders returning to the community from the DOC-funded Women and Children's Center in Westborough.

Marien concluded, "Family-based services are integral to our model of care. It was great to hear that gender-specific, family-oriented services are being given equal priority in other prisoner reentry programs."

According to the National Reentry Resource Center, "The conference was attended by more than 600 reentry practitioners and experts. The reentry conference is designed to build the knowledge base of what works to reduce crime and help returning offenders remain contributing members of neighborhoods and families."

Spectrum Health Systems, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit substance abuse treatment and mental health service organization with corporate headquarters in Worcester, Massachusetts. The company currently operates more than 110 treatment programs in community and institutional settings throughout Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, Georgia, Tennessee, Iowa and Washington State.

Andrew Strecker, Development Associate 
(508) 792-5400 x7113                 

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