AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- A community meeting and training was held at Mt. Zion AME Church to discuss the “I Choose support movement” a mentoring program formed under Georgia Governor Nathan Deal’s Prison re-entry program. The meeting called on volunteers interested in becoming mentors in an effort to help newly released prisoners transition back into their communities. The meeting was held by the Georgia Department of Community supervision which was formed in 2015 after both the parole and probation units merged under the initiative. Augusta is currently ranked number one for recidivism in the state, However, Reginald Cofer, the community coordinator for DCS says they are still in need of the community’s support.
“The program is all about making sure we’re mobilizing and engaging competent mentors to come out and support individuals who are coming out of prison and helping them have an easier transition, partnering with them in their re-entry and just making sure they become the person they need to be.” Cofer says.
Some of the main issues that individuals who come out of prison deal with range from employment to housing and even transportation. Through the mentoring program volunteers are able to find and provide adequate resources in those areas to lessen their chances of returning to prison. The program will pair a newly released prisoner with a qualified mentor for 6-months and then report to them for an accountability assessment.
For more information on how to become a volunteer visit https://dcs.georgia.gov/i-choose-support-mentoring-movement.