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Inmates Given Helping Hand in Tackling Challenges of Re-Entering Society

Trenton-area branch of Volunteers of America assisted several thousand paroled prisoners last year alone

Question: What does New Jersey do to help inmates re-enter society after they have served their time? Answer: New Jersey has no re-entry services for inmates.

Fortunately, there’s a group called Volunteers of America, which has a variety of re-entry programs that helps released inmates. State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Gloucester), who was among those who secured a $750,000 grant to launch the VOA’s Trenton-area re-entry program, hosted a roundtable yesterday to find out how it’s helping ex-offenders.

“Last year alone we served over 2,200 people coming out of state prison who were on parole. We placed 700 people in employment. Almost 120 people went to college, 126 ended up in vocational training,” said Patricia McKernan, COO of Volunteers of America Delaware Valley.

But perhaps more important than the statistics were the individual stories of people like Steven Lamancusa, who served time for a weapons offense, then was released from prison with no parole and probation supervision. Lamancusa got involved with Volunteers of America’s re-entry programs.

“Now I’m doing the right thing and I feel great about myself,” he said.

Read the full report by NJTV News, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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