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FRANKLIN COUNTY — Commissioners want to raise awareness among local residents about the difficulties faced by inmates who have served their time and are trying to rebuild their lives.

As part of that effort, they have proclaimed April as Re-Entry Initiatives Month and are encouraging local citizens to support re-entry efforts.

The proclamation seeks to bring to light the issues of those involved in the criminal justice system as well as point out that individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues are over represented in the nation’s jails and prisons.

Leading the charge, the Franklin Together Re-Entry Coalition partnered with several local organizations to bring the community together and help improve outcomes for returning citizens.

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Franklin Together’s mission is to develop strong collaborative community and professional partnerships that will empower and support former inmates and their families.

The goal is to keep them out of jail and encourage them to become contributing members of the community.

“Our goal is to raise public awareness about the criminal justice system and the barriers and obstacles individuals trying to re-enter society face,” said coalition co-chair, Dr. Kim Eaton.

The coalition often shares a quote by Bryan Stevenson to make the point that people are more than just a single moment in life.

The quote “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done” brings this view to light.

A press conference is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2nd at 1:30 pm in the Terrace Conservatory at the Coyle Library in Chambersburg.

The following are some activities planned for the month that will be highlighted:

➢ April 3rd – Re-Entry Summit 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. with Keynote Speaker Assistant Attorney General Rob Reed at Rhodes Grove Conference Center
➢ April 11th – Waynesboro Community Film Night showing of the documentary “Healing Justice” at LCBC Church in Rouzerville
➢ April 18th – Judicial Candidate Panel with Ian Brink and Mary Beth Shank in Bard Hall at the Eugene C. Clark Jr. Community Center in Chambersburg
➢ April 25th – Chambersburg Community Film Night with another showing of “Healing Justice” in the Wood Center at the Capitol Theatre
➢ April 30th – Candlelight Vigil in Support of Second Chances at the Main Street Parklet in Waynesboro

Franklin Together also plans to distribute bulletin inserts to local church congregations, support care pack fundraising activities, host open task force meetings and partner with legal aid to plan expungement clinics.

Members of the Franklin Together leadership team will be traveling to provide informative presentations on the state of incarceration and local re-entry efforts.

For more details and to learn more, visit www.FranklinTogether.org.

The next Franklin Together Re-Entry Coalition Meeting is Thursday, May 2, from 1-3 p.m. at the Administrative Annex Building in Chambersburg.

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