- Associated Press - Thursday, March 31, 2016

YORK, Neb. (AP) - Inmates at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women start preparing to reintegrate into the community as soon as they arrive at the York prison.

“As soon as they come in we start talking to them about what they’re going to do when they get out,” Nebraska Correctional Center for Women unit administrator Steve Hunzeker said.

The facility believes it’s important to connect inmates to community resources so there’s less of a chance that they’ll eventually end up back in prison, according to Michael Rothwell, the jail’s deputy director of programs and community services.

Twice a year, the facility hosts groups that offer housing, employment, encouragement, counseling and other support services in an effort to make the transition successful for inmates.

“The ladies can’t contact a lot of these agencies,” Hunzeker said, “so we bring them here.”



Late last week, about 150 inmates who are eligible for release or parole prior to July 2017 were given the opportunity to seek services from 15 agencies that set up booths as part of the prison’s re-entry fair, Hunzeker told the York News-Times (https://bit.ly/1Y1R1KV ).

Among the groups offering information to the inmates was a Christian-based shelter called the Living Water Rescue Mission in York. Chaplain Don ‘Hawk’ Cramer, who was staffing the group’s booth, said she was at the fair to inform inmates that they can go directly from the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women to the Living Water Rescue Mission when they’re released.

Another group, Compassion in Action, offered pre-release education, career development, job readiness and other resources to the inmates.

Inmate Stacy Hames of Lincoln, who’s eligible for parole in June, went to the fair because she wants to start a new life in a more positive and nurturing environment when she leaves the jail.

“I’m done using drugs,” she said. “I now have the opportunity to go back to Lincoln and change my life.”

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Information from: York News-Times, https://www.yorknewstimes.com

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