SCCJ Sponsor of Palm Beach County Reentry Summit being held Oct. 3-5, 2018

Palm Beach County is inviting leaders nationwide committed to criminal justice system reform to its inaugural Reentry Summit on October 3-5, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida.  The event is expected to contribute new ideas to a national conversation on criminal justice reform and how to provide the systems and resources for effective reentry services

More than 200 leaders in social justice from across the nation, including Florida Department of Corrections Julie Jones, are expected to attend and share best practices and identify opportunities to collaborate on solutions.  Topics to be addressed include innovative funding solutions, the use of peer specialists in reentry, overcoming barriers to successful reentry, juvenile reentry, housing for returning citizens, employment, among others. Reentry services are the assistance provided to men and women to establish a stable, productive life following incarceration.

Palm Beach County’s community-based reentry program is viewed as a successful model for replication throughout the nation. Palm Beach County has cut recidivism rates in half through its reentry programs.  Effective reentry programs provide safer communities, better lives for returning citizens, and saves millions in tax dollars.

“The reentry movement is at a crucial point throughout the nation,” said The Lord’s Place CEO Diana Stanley, who is a co-chair of the summit planning committee.  “During the past few years, significant progress has been achieved in the field nationally, but there are still critical challenges that need to be addressed so that outcomes continue to improve.” The Lord’s Place has been a leading provider of services to the homeless in Palm Beach County for the past 35 years and has met with great success in providing services to men and women exiting incarceration to prevent them from becoming homeless.

The issue of assisting individuals leaving incarceration is critically important in America since, with only five percent of the world’s population, the United States incarcerates twenty-five percent of the world’s prisoners. “The successful reintegration of citizens returning to their communities following incarceration is an integral step in the process of reducing the prisoner population, lowering the recidivism rate, and ultimately eliminating mass incarceration across America, saving the nation’s taxpayers millions of dollars annually,” Stanley said.

Keynote speakers confirmed for the Reentry Summit include John Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Tonier Cain, of Healing Neen, and Ed Latessa, Ph.D., of the University of Cincinnati. Panelists include Cassandra Atkin-Plunk, Ph.D. of Florida Atlantic University, David D’Amora with the Council of State Governments, Armando Fana West Palm Beach Housing and Community Development director, Palm Beach County Public Defender Carey Haughwout, Lauren Jablonski of the State of Colorado’s 20th Judicial Circuit, Jill Levenson, Ph.D. from Barry University, Kerensa Lockwood, Ph.D. from Florida State University, Jennifer Loyless of the Palm Beach County Public Defender’s Office, Wendy Morrison-Cavendish, Ph.D. from the University of Miami, Erica Nelson from the Council of State Governments, returning citizen Oswald Newbold, Julie Radlauer-Doefler and The Ronik-Radlauer Group, Inc., Ted Rodarm with Matthew 25 Ministries, Lincoln Sloas, Ph.D. from Florida Atlantic University, Palm Beach County Reentry Programs Director Craig Spatara, The Lord’s Place CEO Diana Stanley, Faye Taxman, Ph.D. from George Mason University, John Thurston of The GEO Group, Inc., Chris Warland and Quintin Williams of the Heartland Alliance.

The summit will be held at the Airport Hilton in West Palm Beach, beginning with registration and a welcome reception on Wednesday, Oct. 3.  The program on Thursday, Oct. 4 will include a plenary session, lunch with keynote speaker and breakout sessions.  The summit will conclude on Friday, Oct. 5 with a morning plenary session and a luncheon with closing keynote address.

Registration is $275 prior to September 3 and $325 after September 3.  Registration and more information is available at www.reentrysummitpbc.com. Questions concerning the Summit can be addressed to Dr. Cassandra Atkin-Plunk at catkinplunk@fau.edu. News release questions can be addressed to Margie Yansura at mywordsmith@bellsouth.net.