De­ten­tion Cen­ter holds re-en­try fair

In­mates con­nected to ser­vices, re­sources at an­nual event

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com

In an ef­fort to help con­nect in­mates with out­side re­sources and ser­vices to help bet­ter their lives upon re­lease, the Charles County De­ten­tion Cen­ter held its fourth an­nual re-en­try fair on Friday with the ul­ti­mate goal of re­duc­ing re­cidi­vism.

Vol­un­teers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 29 or­ga­ni­za­tions at­tended this year’s event to pro­vide

in­for­ma­tion to the in­mates about the var­i­ous faith-based, ed­u­ca­tional, drug treat­ment, men­tor­ship and tran­si­tional hous­ing programs that are avail­able af­ter re­lease to help get them back on their feet.

Some or­ga­ni­za­tions, such as Grace Lutheran Church and Point of Change Jail and Street Min­istry, are also will­ing to work with in­mates dur­ing their in­car­cer­a­tion to help es­tab­lish a plan that will al­low them to suc­cess­fully rein­te­grate into so­ci­ety and the la­bor force, while help­ing them turn their backs on the in­flu­ences that may have led them to crim­i­nal­ity.

“Even if it helps one per­son stay out of jail, it’s a help­ful event, and that’s what the fair is re­ally for,” said Cpl. Chris Cle­mons, the re-en­try co­or­di­na­tor of the de­ten­tion cen­ter. “It’s not go­ing to touch ev­ery­body. Some peo­ple [in­mates] are go­ing to come just to come, but there’s go­ing to be the se­lect few that come in there, get the re­sources, bet­ter their lives, maybe bet­ter their chil­dren’s lives, and be­come a pro­duc­tive mem­ber of so­ci­ety. So that’s what it’s for; it’s re­ally just to help the ones who want to be helped.”

“We want it for ev­ery­body,” he added, “but as long as we can help a cou­ple, it’s worth it.”

Aside from those held in max­i­mum se­cu­rity, all in­mates were given a chance to at­tend the re-en­try fair, which was set up in a gym­na­sium. Each group was given 40 min­utes to walk around.

Among the or­ga­ni­za­tions in at­ten­dance were rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Charles County Depart­ment of Health who in­formed in­mates on the vary­ing sub­stance abuse ser­vices and sup­port groups avail­able. They of­fer walk-in reg­is­tra­tion and as­sess­ments for sub­stance use ser­vices ev­ery week, Mon­day through Wed­nes­day, from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Ap­pli­cants are asked to bring a photo ID, their So­cial Se­cu­rity num­ber, health in­sur­ance in­for­ma­tion and ver­i­fi­ca­tion of fam­ily in­come, such as a W-2 form, pay stub or let­ter from an em­ployer, ac­cord­ing to a flier.

Other gov­ern­ment agen­cies in at­ten­dance in­cluded the Depart­ment of Land and La­bor, So­cial Ser­vices and Vet­eran Af­fairs.

Vol­un­teers from Life­Styles of Mary­land, a non-profit ded­i­cated to help­ing those in need, es­pe­cially the un­shel­tered, set up a booth at the event and spoke with the men about its wide range of ser­vices, in­clud­ing tran­si­tional hous­ing and “Safe Nights” programs. Ev­ery night from Oct. 1 to April 21, af­fil­i­ated churches in the com­mu­nity take turns host­ing the event which pro­vides those with­out shel­ter a place to sleep, while feed­ing them din­ner and break­fast, as well as pro­vid­ing other ne­ces­si­ties.

“The whole idea of re-en­try is to suc­cess­fully tran­si­tion pris­on­ers from here, back into the com­mu­nity,” said newly-ap­pointed de­ten­tion cen­ter di­rec­tor Bran­don Foster. “Too of­ten, whether it be at the county level or the state level, at the end of a sen­tence an in­mate is just walk­ing out the door. If they’re not given some kind of di­rec­tion, if they’re not put in con­tact with some of these peo­ple, the re­cidi­vism ... rate in­creases and it’s more prob­a­ble that those peo­ple will re­turn to jail. So, that’s re­ally the whole ef­fort.”

“Peo­ple prob­a­bly don’t re­ally think about it when they think about what’s go­ing on in­side of a jail,” Foster con­tin­ued. “The re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive ser­vices are a huge part of it. Not only to make their time here pro­duc­tive, but to give them the best tools that we can to be suc­cess­ful.”

Foster also ex­plained that the de­ten­tion cen­ter is also in the process of es­tab­lish­ing a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with the Mary­land Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safety and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices that will al­low those housed at state pris­ons to be re­lo­cated to the Charles County De­ten­tion Cen­ter for the last year of their in­car­cer­a­tion, grant­ing them ac­cess to lo­cal ser­vices to bet­ter pre­pare them to be re­leased. This, he said, would be limited to se­lect pris­on­ers who are will­ing and qual­ify, and plan to live in the area upon re­lease.

Last Wed­nes­day, Sher­iff Troy Berry (D) an­nounced that Foster — who has over 19 years of cor­rec­tional ex­pe­ri­ence — has been ap­pointed the new di­rec­tor of the de­ten­tion cen­ter af­ter serv­ing as the act­ing di­rec­tor for the pre­vi­ous seven months. Prior to his ap­point­ment, Foster was the deputy di­rec­tor of the fa­cil­ity be­fore the re­tire­ment of di­rec­tor Su­san Rice. Ap­pointed to the po­si­tion of deputy di­rec­tor was Deb­o­rah Dof­fle­myer, who pre­vi­ously served as the com­man­der of the sup­port ser­vices sec­tion and has been em­ployed at the de­ten­tion cen­ter since 1986.

“I be­lieve lead­er­ship is prin­ci­pled in fair­ness, jus­tice and com­mon re­spect,” said Foster af­ter the ap­point­ment. “I look for­ward to be­ing ac­tively in­volved in all as­pects of man­ag­ing the de­ten­tion cen­ter and main­tain­ing a good work en­vi­ron­ment in an ex­tremely tough job.”

STAFF PHOTO BY AN­DREW RICHARD­SON

In­mates at the Charles County De­ten­tion Cen­ter’s fourth an­nual re-en­try fair speak with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Life Jour­neys Writ­ers Guild, to the left, and Depart­ment of Health, to the right.

Vol­un­teers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 29 or­ga­ni­za­tions at­tended the fourth an­nual re-en­try fair held at Charles County De­ten­tion Cen­ter. Here, they await the next group of in­mates to be­gin their 40-minute tour.

STAFF PHOTOS BY AN­DREW RICHARD­SON

Karla Cam­pos-Hunt, left, and Char­lita Camp­bell, right, from the Charles County Depart­ment of Health at­tended the fourth an­nual re-en­try fair at the Charles County De­ten­tion Cen­ter to pro­vide in­mates with in­for­ma­tion on how to get con­nected with sub­stance abuse treat­ment programs.

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