As this week comes to a close, Camden County celebrates National Reentry Week, April 26-30, as designated by the Department of Justice in 2016. This is an opportunity to acknowledge the importance of reentry in helping criminal justice system involved individuals return home to their communities and to provide new pathways to a fulfilling and successful life post-incarceration. “The Commissioner Board is committed to reducing and eliminating as many barriers as possible for our reentering population. It is our mission to ensure that when individuals leave our facilities, they are prepared to rejoin their community, to be successful, and to live a fulfilling life. To that end, our team has implemented a comprehensive series of programs and events to address substance use disorder, unemployment, and other obstacles this population is faced with. Our goal is to supply whatever tools they may need to move forward.”– Camden County Commissioner Jonathan Young.
The primary goal of Camden County’s reentry efforts, led by the Department of Corrections, is to transform the way our communities view those with a criminal justice and incarceration history and to rethink how our communities can play an active role in helping individuals remain free of future system involvement by mitigating or all together eliminating the barriers and road blocks to securing employment, housing, treatment and social services, and family reunification. The Camden County Reentry Committee, comprised of myriad system and community-based stakeholders and partners, has been vital to identifying and breaking down barriers, facilitating timely connection to services and providers upon release, and coordination of treatment. The Camden County NuEntry Opportunity Specialists (NOS) have been an invaluable resource, helping their peers transition home following incarceration and to what is often a whole a new world.
We not only recognize reentry this week, but throughout the entire year. One of the ways this is accomplished by hosting discussions with our community to continue to educate and inform ourselves regarding the barriers and challenges associated with mass incarceration, restorative justice, and racial equity. May 6, 2021 kicks off a series of book discussions hosted in collaboration with the Camden County Department of Corrections and the Camden County Library System to create spaces for these conversations to take place. We look forward to continuing our efforts to reshape the conversation, rethink jails, and foster an environment that supports our community, specifically individuals returning home to Camden County post-incarceration. “I am convinced that the future is very bright for Reentry Programs. It is the most effective way to reduce recidivism and break the endless cycle of incarceration” – Director David Owens, Camden County Department of Corrections.