Ms center for reentry helps former incarcerated people adjust to society

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- Adjusting to life outside of prison can be a big challenge for people who’ve been incarcerated.

State leaders are discussing way to help them transition back into society. A conference in Starkville  focused finding to help people after they served their time.

Some of the most common questions a formerly incarcerated person may have are—how do I get my life back? Who do I turn to?

The Mississippi Center for Reentry is providing the tools to help build that path to normalcy.

Finding a path to a brighter future, that’s the idea for state leaders during the 3rd-annual Mississippi Center for Reentry Conference.

The program opens the conversation to highlight those who are impacted by the criminal justice system and what resources will be accessible after they are released.

“We’re trying to get the community to come together so they can see what reentry is and not just push everybody that’s been in the prison system out of the community,” said Cynetra Freeman.

Freeman is the founder of Mississippi Reentry, shares she was incarcerated many years ago. After her experience, she designed the program to provide services to other formerly incarcerated people.

Right now, she’s working on 55 cases.

” We have served 245 individuals. Nobody has revisited, everybody has a job. Nobody has had an mental episodes, nobody has relapsed so we are doing good,” said Freeman.

In a panel discussion, Chairman of Mississippi Department of Corrections Senator Juan Barnett and State Representative Cheikh Taylor held conversations about stigma and breaking barriers for those in the prison system.

” When we think about the department of corrections, we think about the facilities and how we’re incarcerating people and how the department is holding up but I look at it a little different. I worried about when these people exit of the department of corrections. What kind of chance do they have when they exit. Did we give them everything that they could have to make sure when they leave they can be that productive citizen and does not return,” said Barnett.

” I think sometimes we turn a blind eye to really what the requirements are to transition back home. Having a drivers license or having access to public housing or fair housing an education. Sometimes when you get felonies those things are actually removed from your grasp,” said Taylor.

Freeman says workshop sessions and a re-entry simulation helped paint the picture of those challenges someone may face.

“I’m hoping they will take some of this information back to their offices and try to create some tools and resources for those who are coming home from jail or prison,” said Freeman.

Mississippi Center for Reentry will release an app to citizens across North Mississippi. They will be able to find other accessible resources and options in their area.

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