The Kentucky Department of Corrections’ Reentry Branch hosted its first “Family Engagement Session” recently in Bowling Green. The meeting was held in partnership with the Southern Reentry Council.

The Family Engagement Sessions are designed primarily for family members and significant others of individuals who have been newly incarcerated and those that are nearing release. The Department of Corrections, in partnership with local reentry councils, will host these sessions throughout the state. The sessions are scheduled in the evening in order to accommodate working families. Upcoming sessions will take place in Covington on March 19; Paducah on March 20; Owensboro on March 21; Elizabethtown on March 26 and Louisville on March 28. Locations and more information can be found at: http://corrections.ky.gov/reentry/Pages/FamilyEngagementSessions.aspx.

“I believe family is one of the most important parts of a successful reentry process,” said Warren County Detention Center Major William Baker. Baker serves as the executive director of the Southern Reentry Council. “Inmates housed in jails are provided several program opportunities; however, participation in programs is not always communicated to family members. This information is a good tool for families wanting to provide support.”

The first half of the two-hour session focuses on information such as where the offender could be housed and what programs and services are available. Families that will be working with an offender who is nearing release are encouraged to attend the second half of the meeting which focuses on reentry. Programs the offender may have participated in, the role of the family in reentry, what to expect when an offender is under supervision and common requirements of supervision are explained.

“Family engagement is paramount to successful reentry because the majority of the time, family is the first and last support system,” said Division of Probation and Parole District Supervisor Mark Stonex. Stonex also serves as the Southern Reentry Council’s deputy director.

Several attendees commented after the session they felt the meeting was beneficial and will help them better understand the needs of their family members who are incarcerated.

Representatives from the department’s reentry branch, Division of Probation and Parole and staff from area prisons will be available at each of the Family Engagement Sessions to answer questions. Additionally, service providers in the area may be available to discuss resources for the families and information about reentry resources will be available.



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