Five formerly incarcerated individuals will tell their stories of what it’s like reentering the community at the Juneau Reentry Coalition’s May meeting Wednesday night.
The community is invited to attend, listen and take part in an inclusive social dialogue, said Don Habeger, the coalition’s community coordinator.
Habeger hopes the dialogue will help inform a comprehensive community plan, which the coalition is currently working on through a partnership with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and the Alaska Department of Corrections.
“We are all working together to come up with a community reentry plan so that we have a warm handoff for those coming out of incarceration back into our community, and connect them to the services that they need. It could be housing, could be additional help connecting to viable employment,” Habeger said.
He said the personal stories aim to offer an understanding of the process of reentry from incarceration through the eyes of people who have firsthand experience of it.
“That then will be used as the springboard or catalyst for the next piece of that, which is the community says, ‘We understand what the process is, at least on a foundational level, and we want to see these elements be enhanced,’” Habeger said.
Dr. Sol Neely, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Alaska Southeast, will moderate the community dialogue. Neely also teaches a UAS literature and philosophy program at Lemon Creek Correctional Center called The Flying University.
Habeger said Juneau is one of four Alaska communities pioneering the concept of justice reinvestment and community reentry work for the state. The others are Anchorage, Mat-Su and Fairbanks.
The Juneau Reentry Coalition is a collaboration of individuals, community stakeholders, public and nonprofit agencies, faith-based and business partners who are united and committed to reducing recidivism and supporting individuals returning to the community after incarceration.
Wednesday’s Juneau Reentry Coalition community dialogue will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Northern Light United Church on 400 W. 11th St.
Habeger said the coalition plans to host a community dialogue every quarter.
• Contact reporter Lisa Phu at 523-2246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.