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Community Justice Project, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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To increase public safety through changing offender behavior.
What is the Community Justice Project? The Community Justice Project is a joint effort of the Minneapolis Police Department and the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches to increase public safety through changing offender behavior. The cornerstone of the Project is an adult mentoring initiative that matches trained mentors with the target population of adults, starting at age 18, who are incarcerated at the Hennepin County Adult Correctional Facility in Plymouth, Minnesota. A significant effect of the program is the system change created through regular communications and cooperation among various stake-holders. What is the adult mentoring initiative? Over 100 women and men are needed each year as trained mentors for individuals returning to the community from incarceration. Project Co-Director Hillary Freeman reminds participants in the mentor training sessions that they are not called to be successful that is the work of the person with whom you work. You are called to be faithful. The presence of a constant, trustworthy adult who listens, who stands by, who encourages, who prods is crucial to good mentoring. Patience, listening skills, a sense of humor, and trustworthiness all contribute to making a good mentor. What difference does mentoring make? Recent data indicates that in 2008 those offenders who were mentored had been arrested 456 times in the two years prior to their incarceration and only 55 times in the year after release from prison. Of those who stayed connected with their mentors following release, they had only 11 arrests total among them all.
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