By Emily Lowe
To Idaho Department of Correction Reentry Program Manager, a newly released prisoner transitioning back into society must have three aspects met in order to be successful: social support, a safe place to live and meaningful employment.
IDOC’s new One-Stop Reentry Center for newly released offenders can potentially help with all of that, said Tim Leigh, the reentry manager.
Wednesday marked the grand opening of the center Leigh had only dreamed of 10 years ago while working with the Department of Labor. Leigh joined the Department of Correction in May.
“A lot of folks (offenders) come out and they don’t have anything, they’re really scared and they want to succeed, but sometimes they don’t know where to go to get what they need to be successful,” Leigh said.
A three-year, $1.5 million grant allows the 4th Judicial District six reentry specialists who work mostly with high- or medium-risk and sex offenders to transition successfully back into society. The specialists begin working with people 60 days prior to their release from prison and 60 days after their release to make sure they’re getting the supportive services they need to be successful.
Leigh wanted to utilize the building the specialists were in and invite community partners into the space so that those released from prison and in need of help can have one place to get help, for employment opportunities, safe housing and mental or medical care.