There was a virtual "Summit of Hope" for reentry programs and services available in Champaign County last month. It involved many participants and service providers who work with the Champaign County Reentry Council. The Reentry Council has also had a couple meetings since the last update on the Cheat Sheet in January. A quick reminder of what the Reentry Council is:
The purpose of the Reentry Council of Champaign County is to provide a means of communication and coordination among community organizations, public officials, advocates, and others involved in the community response to persons returning to Champaign County from incarceration in federal prison, state prison, or the county jail. The Council also receives and reviews data regarding jail bookings, jail-based screenings, and connections to services for the purpose of coordinating community services and planning. The Council receives regular reports from organizations providing reentry and related services, reviews funding opportunities, and recommends actions which will enhance public safety, reduce recidivism, and improve outcomes for those returning from incarceration and their families.
The February Reentry Council meeting had program updates and information on the March virtual "Summit of Hope" event. The April Reentry Council meeting had a couple new faces. Alicia Beck joined as the new Parkland College SWFT director. Among the many programs SWFT offers, Director Beck says they're looking for more people interested in their Construction program. Lieutenant Cory Koker of the Urbana Police Department joined the Council (Lieutenant Joel Sanders is now Chief at another police department). As a leader for the Urbana PD's Crisis Intervention Team (More on CIT and mental health). he's likely to be a critical player in the One Door pilot program being implemented by Urbana and in collaboration with Champaign.
There were two presentations this month at the Reentry Council. The first was by Stephanie Cockrell, Executive Director of The Well Experience. She highlighted the ReNew HER program and other services for Black women and teenage girls. The programs include trauma informed and culturally relevant care that include reentry and other services for well being.
The second presentation was by Caleb Brooks with Navis Health and the upcoming official opening of two homes for substance abuse detox services. The openings will be on April 15th in two Champaign locations.
Summit of Hope
The full video of the Champaign County virtual Summit of Hope event is available on the Champaign County Community Coalition's facebook page here. It is a series of presentations on the latest services and programs available for people reentering the community from incarceration. The State's program webpage has a brief general description:
The Summit of Hope is a community expo that will bring service providers together to provide the necessary services and resources to ex-offenders with the mission to guide and assist ex-offenders with community services to ensure reintegration into the community while reducing recidivism...
Each participant is assisted by a volunteer who guides each parolee through the maze of services and exhibits. Services that will be offered include: State identification, counseling, transportation, food, clothing, shelter, child support services, primary health care referrals, screening for blood pressure, vision, HIV testing and care, veterans’ information, Social Security Administration, employment services, mock interviews, education/training services and a variety of other social service agencies and you. Numerous faith-based organizations will also lend a helping hand to assist this group to get back on the right track and to stay there.
The pandemic restrictions limited the event to a virtual event this year, but it is hoped that eventually an in-person event can be had to better assist locally. The Education Justice Project has reentry services guides here. The Champaign County Sheriff's Office and Rosecrance also offer printed fliers (generally available with the free materials in the jail waiting room) with local services. First Followers Reentry Program can also help connect people to various services and assistance.