HARTFORD, CONN (September 12, 2018) – Today Mayor Luke Bronin, the Hartford Court of Common Council, State legislators, Connecticut First Lady Cathy Malloy, State Department of Correction Commissioner Scott Semple, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving President Jay Williams, and Community Partners in Action Chief Operating Officer Elizabeth Hines cut the ribbon on the City of Hartford’s new Reentry Welcome Center. The Reentry Welcome Center will provide a one-stop-shop where formerly incarcerated individuals can get connected to services and supports as they work to successfully reintegrate into their communities. The Reentry Welcome Center will be run by Community Partners in Action with support from dozens of community-based organizations. The Reentry Welcome Center is funded by a three-year, $450,000 Innovation Grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
“Opening a Reentry Welcome Center was has been a goal of ours from the very start of my administration, and I’m proud of the tremendous partnerships that have made it possible,” said Mayor Bronin. “With this welcome center, we are opening our doors to people who are trying to rebuild their lives, connecting them to basic necessities as well as healthcare, educational opportunities, job training and many other services and supports. This Reentry Welcome Center is about making our city safer and our community stronger, and it’s about helping those who are serious about making the most of a second chance. Helping returning citizens rebuild their lives in our community doesn’t just help those individuals – it helps their families, their neighborhoods, and our city as a whole. I am deeply grateful to the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving for their generous support, to Community Partners in Action for their leadership, and to the dozens of community organizations who are partnering with us to provide every type of support for people trying to rebuild their lives in our city.”
The Center is located on the ground floor of City Hall, with direct access from Prospect Street. It will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM beginning Monday, September 17th. The Center will be one of the first in Connecticut to receive individuals from the State Department of Correction directly upon their release. The Center will focus on serving individuals who have been released within the last 90 days and are not on parole or probation, who often receive the least support following their release.
“I am thrilled that as a city we are opening our doors and working directly with people who deserve a second chance,” said City Council President Glendowlyn L.H. Thames. “This has been a priority for Mayor Bronin and many of my Council colleagues since we took office and I want to thank the Hartford Foundation for their generous support and Community Partners in Action for all the work they are doing to support people trying to rebuild their lives.”
Before his inauguration, Mayor Bronin formed a reentry working group made up of faith, community, and non-profit leaders, academics, and corrections professionals. They came up with a set of recommendations to help individuals reintegrate in their neighborhoods related to data collection, resource identification, job training and other support, as well as partnership opportunities. The Reentry Welcome Center will carry out many of those recommendations, and provide opportunities for individuals to get support they need to rebuild their lives, reunify with their families, and become productive members of the community.
“The Hartford Foundation is grateful to be a part of what is an example of a true public and private partnership designed to change the course of the lives of men and women returning home from prison,” said Hartford Foundation President Jay Williams. “Integral to this effort has been tapping into the expertise of returning citizens who know best what they need, what has worked and what has not. This Center will ensure that men and women in prison getting ready to return home will have immediate access to services to address their needs for housing, health, employment, or family challenges they often face.”
The Reentry Welcome Center will provide case management services to 150 people each year for three years, however, anyone who comes to the Center will be offered information on community programs and resources. Individuals will be able to access support and services offered by a variety of community organizations related to: basic needs like food and clothing; housing; substance abuse treatment; mental health treatment; medical care; job training and education; employment opportunities and more. The Center will also serve as a data collection hub and track referral outcomes across partners.
“The Reentry Welcome Center represents a coming together of community partners to help a population often forgotten,” said Elizabeth Hines, Chief Operating Officer of Community Partners in Action. “The Center is here to welcome people home and assist with their successful transition.”
“The Hartford Reentry Welcome Center will be an intricate component of criminal justice reform in the capital city,” said City Councilman Thomas “TJ” Clarke II, Co-Chair of the Council's Quality of Life and Public Safety Committee. “People will now have a designated office where they can go to receive case management services and information on important essential services that are available to them. I look forward to working with the newly created Commission on Criminal Justice Reform and the director of the center to help improve the quality of life for formerly incarcerated Hartford residents.”
“I’m excited that we have the Reentry Welcome Center,” said City Councilman James Sanchez, Co-Chair of the Council’s Quality of Life and Public Safety Committee. “It is important that we have the support system in place for our citizens who are coming back into our community. This Welcome Center will provide the necessary help to find housing, education and work and becoming self-sustainable and productive citizens. They served their time and it’s time we help them achieve a better future.”
Key partners include: CT Department of Correction; CT Office of Policy Management, Criminal Justice Planning Division; CT Judicial Department, Court Support Services Division; Greater Hartford Reentry Council; Journey Home; CT Commission on Equity and Opportunity; Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy; Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition; and Capital Workforce Partners in addition to approximately forty state and local non-profit service providers.