State Rep. Maurice West says policy and culture needs to improve to break the cycle of crime

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — State Rep. Maurice West hosted a virtual ‘Summit of Hope’ expo on Wednesday hoping to reduce recidivism in the Stateline. He says the pandemic may have caused those looking for guidance to loose hope and instead they turned to bad habits to survive. A local organization says it can help with its program and advocacy.

Those who have a criminal record may be struggling to find their sense of belonging in the community.

"The support system for our incarcerated community members is not as effective as it could be," said West.

That’s why Goodwill hopes to advocate for those trying to turn their life around. Goodwill’s Young Adult LifeLaunch program currently supports 34 people involved in the criminal justice system by giving them a second chance.

"We are here to serve 18 to 24-year-olds who have been justice involved. Anybody that wants to get to work and get a certification, whether it’s in forklift, Ariel, welding anything like that, we’re here to help them," said Goodwill LifeLaunch Program Manager Grant Schubert.

Schubert says creating an easier way to access productive tools reduces the rate of re-offending.

"Houston had the first LifeLaunch pilot program and I think the recidivism rate is around 20 percent and their recidivism rate after being involved in the program ended up being two to three percent. So we know objectively that this works," said Schubert. "Building confidence, believing in people, removing obstacles towards their dreams and towards where they want to be is powerful."

"The culture of second chances, the culture of grace in our community and when we do that a lot of the issues that we are having can subside because we will increase our tax base," said West.

West says a way to break the cycle of crime could be by funding a ‘Summit of Hope’ type of organization for our own community, 365 days a year.

"Pulling themselves up by their bootstraps by providing them some boots," said West.

Breaking down access barriers so those looking to better themselves can do just that.

For more information on how to get involved with Goodwill’s LifeLaunch program call 815-687-0283 or click here.

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via WREX

August 27, 2020 at 09:57AM

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