Media Release – December 13, 2011
For Immediate Release:
In an effort to reduce the recidivism rate, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the United Way of Metro Atlanta and the Regional Commission on Homelessness to provide homeless inmates with shelter, drug treatment, job skills training and crime prevention classes upon their release from jail.
“This program is something I have felt was needed in Gwinnett County for a long time. Studies show that one in seven people who are incarcerated are homeless. Further studies show that those inmates who have stable housing when they are released are less likely to return to jail or prison,” said Sheriff Butch Conway.
“In looking at our recidivism rates, it became clear that some of our frequent flyers in and out of jail are homeless and are returning in part because of that. I have a firm belief that the reduction of crime and the effectiveness of public safety is best served by a comprehensive approach including proactive law enforcement, appropriate punishment and intervention to change behaviors that lead to repeated criminal acts,” Sheriff Conway added.
The cost of the program will be offset by seized drug money from the drug asset forfeitures account so there will be no cost to the taxpayers.
“I am excited by the opportunity to create this partnership and invest in a worthwhile and meaningful endeavor that will provide a solution to a very complex and chronic problem,” said Sheriff Conway.
Demetrius Jordan, Regional Director of United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, said his agency’s Regional Commission on Homelessness “has worked to end chronic homelessness and help inmates re-enter society stable and productive.”
“This partnership between the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office and United Way will serve as a model to address tough issues while being sensitive to shrinking resources. We applaud Sheriff Conway for his leadership and look forward to the positive work ahead,” said Mr. Jordan.