By Katie Moore
The Shawnee County Jail is expanding its re-entry program in an effort aimed at reducing recidivism.
Jail director Brian Cole said offenders who are released may find securing housing and employment to be a challenge.
Last month, a newly formed re-entry advisory board met for the first time. The group is comprised of city and county officials, representatives from local nonprofits, and other stakeholders.
“They’ll make this work,” said re-entry coordinator Rich Christie. “I know they have a passion to help lives.”
Christie, who began working at the jail in April, said he expects a more robust re-entry program to be in place by the end of January.
The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that while the jail has had a work release program and GED classes, officials are adding cognitive classes and workforce development.
The cognitive classes aim to help people make better decisions.
“It doesn’t really try to change what they think or they feel, but intervenes before they act,” Christie said. “It really slows down the thinking instead of reacting.”
Participants in workforce development courses will learn to write resumes and conduct mock interviews.
The program will start in the jail’s annex building, which is minimum security, though Cole said he hopes it expands to the main building at some point.