Parenting skills and child development classes, substance abuse prevention, relationship improvement courses, and positive environments are being brought to Kings County Jail. Champions is at the helm of this initiative, hoping to make big changes in the lives of the inmates. The community at large will be better for these services, but what all goes into making this into a successful step forward for Kings County?
Meet Jack Porter
Jack Porter is one of the counselors working to change the way inmates live their lives. When asked about the goals in mind for this project he had this to say:
"The main goal is to prime the participants for life outside of the jail. We want to assess their needs, develop a plan to address their needs, and successfully transition them into the community. We hope to reduce the recidivism rates, and the vicious circle that many fall into. We’re hoping to get them out and keep them out for good this time."
Mr. Porter has been most involved with inmates dealing with substance abuse issues. "I’ve got 23 years clean and sober", commented Porter, "and I’m committed to teaching the difference between clean and unclean, sober and intoxicated, healthy and unhealthy. They [the inmates] need to know that there is a different lifestyle, a better way of living."
Who benefits from these services?
The burning question that arose from the minute these ideas began forming into a coordinated attack to better the lives of these inmates. Champions believes that the lives of the inmates gets better first and foremost, but there is always a possibility that others are affected as well.
Mr. Porter offered his thoughts on the matter:
"In my own perspective, we as the counselors are like giant rocks being cast into a pool, and these rocks create a ripple effect, and it affects everybody that is in that pool. That includes all the program participants, especially those with children and their families. The positive changes and positive effects will affect the inmates, their children, and hopefully their children’s children. We aim to have participants have a much better time with re-entry. Our services help these individuals grow, change, and gain a new perspective on life. People don’t know what they don’t know, but when they get to know what they don’t know, it changes their lives; it changes everything! We’re hoping that it trickles down into future generations as well."
Challenges to providing these services
With all services, barriers and potential obstacles make themselves known at one time or another. The fact is, inmate services in Kings County are a very new thing and with that comes a certain level of cloudiness. However, Mr. Porter and the Champions staff have already identified one potential barrier going forward.
With Champions being a non-profit agency the most obvious challenge will be funding this initiative over time. To this regard, Mr. Porter stated:
"The biggest obstacle will be limited funding; our program could always use money to help us do more of what we want with these programs. The sheriff’s department is very eager, and has welcomed us with open arms, but there is always a need for funding when it comes to these programs."
If you would like to support Champions in continued service of the community, or if you would like to know more about what additional services they offer, visit their website at www.championsrecoveryprograms.org