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About Us

Posted on Jul 24 2011 by admin

Our Mission: create safer communities by providing ex-offenders the opportunity to transform their lives through mentoring, resources, and community partnerships.

It is expected that approximately 500 ex-offenders will be released from state prisons and county jails into the Central Minnesota communities annually. Many of them will not have solid attachments to their families or to the community. To compound the problem, the ex-offenders will return to their old neighborhoods where their very presence may threaten to disrupt already fragile households and social structures. Many of them will immediately return to crime to support themselves. Society will always have members of that kind. Others, however, will decide to “go straight.” They will intend to find a good job and start fresh, but find that they have limited prospects for finding a good job or for obtaining an apartment lease. Many of those who want to change will not find the break they need. Consequently, they will also return to a life of crime. They will not avail themselves of community supports and services that might help them turn their lives around and turn a commitment for a crime-free lifestyle into a reality. Statistics show that approximately two out of three returning ex-offenders are re-incarcerated. As these numbers suggest, without intervention, the majority of ex-offenders will return to criminal activity, contributing further to violence and crime in the Central Minnesota area.

Former prisoners need to find housing and work. They need to earn an income and to develop structure and a sense of legitimacy in their lives. Some of them not only have a criminal record, but they may also face challenges such as unresolved mental health and substance abuse issues. Some have educational deficits, which present a significant obstacle to finding and holding a job. Many former offenders have multiple barriers to success.

In an effort to address the challenges facing former prisoners and the communities in Central Minnesota, the Central MN Re-Entry Project (CMNRP) developed and launched a prisoner re-entry program in Sep0tember 2005. CMNRP is modeled after AMICUS, an organization that has run a successful reentry program in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for over 40 years.

CMNRP links returning offenders to people and organizations that assist with jobs, housing, and volunteer mentoring in Stearns, Benton, and Sherburne Counties in Central Minnesota. CMNRP offers ex-offenders the opportunity to participate in a mentoring program at least 120 days prior to their release from prison or jail. CMNRP assesses the likely barriers to successful re-entry and connects the participants to appropriate services to address those barriers.

CMNRP programs are based on four core principles:

  • People can and do change.
  • All people have value and deserve respect.
  • Everyone receives judgment-free service.
  • Our work is relationship-based, person-centered and responsive to the needs of individual.