Sierra Jenkins / Friday, March 31, 2017 @ 7:02 a.m. / LoCO Video Reports
(VIDEO) BREAKING THE CYCLE III: Humboldt County Jail Inmates Get Employment and Community Resource Options at 2nd Annual Reentry Fair, An Effort to Reduce Recidivism
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Humboldt County’s efforts to make positive changes to its criminal justice system continue this week with a reentry fair for inmates at the correctional facility.
People in and out of incarceration struggle to find ways to reintegrate themselves into their communities. Many want, and some actually try, to turn their lives around — but without support, resources and employment, they often fail. So the pressure is on correctional facilities to provide inmates with opportunities to get the vital information they need to succeed.
Administrative Sergeant Dennis Griffin has worked at the Humboldt County Jail for nearly 20 years. He says:
“For programs, that’s something we were historically not very good at — in all aspects of corrections, not just our facility. But with realignment in 2012, when prisons reduced populations and pushed the populations back to county facilities, it forced us to look at how we did business. And now a lot of funding is toward programs, so we’re trying to get on board as best as we can.”
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office embraces a progressive form of corrections and is fully invested in various new programs. This is the second year of the three-day reentry fair, which is in partnership with HSU’s criminal justice dialogues.
First inmates learn about job etiquette and then get to meet with local businesses who offer employment opportunities to those with a criminal background.
Humboldt native Robert Hunter is a repeat offender who’s been at the county jail — this time — for six months. However he’s optimistic after this experience.
“What I’ve learned is that there’s a lot more employers in the community willing to give us jobs and chances than we previously have thought,” he said. “It gives us hope.”
Then representatives from eight local service providers shared information one-on-one about how to apply for healthcare, CalFresh food benefits, options for childcare, housing, adult education, and others.
From the Department of Health and Human Services and the Betty Chinn Day Center, to College of the Redwoods and the Eureka Rescue Mission: It’s clear that not only the Sheriff’s Office and correctional facility staff are committed to finding ways to reduce recidivism, many levels of community resources are ready and willing to show support to those with a criminal history trying to get back on their feet.
So now only time will tell — to see if these new initiatives help break the cycle.
In this LoCO Video Report we take you inside the Humboldt County jail to observe the reentry fair, and hear more from people involved.