Sunday, January 6, 2008

Would Transitional Program Hinder Efforts?

Ex-con transitional housing explored
Link (JG)

"When convicted felons leave Indiana prisons early, many of them walk away on parole with less than $100 in their pockets and little supervision.

Some heading to Allen County go through an intensive court-supervised program aimed at easing them back into the community and keeping them from returning to prison again. But many inmates are ineligible because their housing doesn’t meet stringent program requirements, leaving them prone to trouble and a possible return to prison.

Allen County and state officials would like to give these people – as many as 150 – a safe place to live so they can participate in the program, called Re-Entry Court."
"Although officials are still debating whether to provide such housing and how it would be financed, county leaders are strongly considering using county property across from the Allen County Jail on Calhoun Street and adjacent to Headwaters Park.

But at least one official opposes the proposed downtown location, saying it might hinder downtown development efforts.

“I’m frankly opposed to putting that downtown,” Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards said. “I think it flies in the face of everything we’ve tried to do to bring people downtown.”"
"Sex offenders would not be included because of the building’s proposed location next to Headwaters Park, said Sheila Hudson, director of Allen County Community Corrections. State law prohibits certain sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school or public park."
"The Allen County prosecutor opposes putting a low-security facility downtown to house violent offenders because the offenders could come and go as they please. She’s concerned it could deter people from moving downtown, attending a baseball game at Harrison Square or visiting nearby Headwaters Park.

“They should be living somewhere where they’re not going to make their neighbors feel unsafe,” she said."