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New Reentry Center opens to help recently released inmates

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Officials and guests prepare to cut the ribbon at the grand opening of The Reentry Center at the Center for Hope | Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS — If you’re going through a rough patch, or trying to get back on your feet after leaving rehab or incarceration, the new Reentry Center at the Center for Hope is a place that can help.

The center held its grand opening ceremony at the Center for Hope Friday afternoon.

“This is open to anybody in the entire community,” Idaho Falls Community Reentry Center Correctional Case Manager Kelly Rausch says. “It can provide a little bit of everything — housing, employment … food vouchers … education, computers for job search, drug and alcohol treatment and mental health treatment.”

The new facility provides contacts and resources to anyone who needs it, but especially for those seeking to reenter society after addiction or incarceration. The Reentry Center has partnered with various drug and rehab providers, the Department of Labor, counseling services and others. Those who attend the center do not need to be on supervision or probation to take advantage of the services.

Photo taken by Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com

“The entire community just got behind us and volunteered to help out with anything we needed,” Rausch says.

One option for residents who have recently been released from jail is the 12-week reentry program that is being held by Voice Advocacy, a local non-profit group.

“They go over different topics such as credit repair, education, health, anything that you could think of that would help you reenter successfully back into our community,” District 7 Probation and Parole Reentry Specialist Stephanie Taylor-Silva says.

Taylor-Silva says the idea for the reentry center had been in the works for the last year as an initiative of the Idaho Department of Correction. After seeing a similar program open to the public in Boise, officials thought the program could be effective in eastern Idaho.

Photo taken by Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com

“This has been the department’s strongest initiative on bridging the gap in our community and we look forward to serving,” Taylor-Silva says.

Returning citizen Bradford Foster says this facility will be beneficial to former inmates who may feel they have nowhere to turn.

“It’s an opportunity to know that you’re not alone, we all go through that place and time where we feel like we’re alone, but there’s other people out there that’s going through the same struggle,” Foster says. “‘Now we have a place where we can say ‘Hey, come hang out, you’re not alone.'”

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin attended the event and made remarks as well as Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper.

Photo taken by Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com

“The addiction issues, the incarceration issues, theses things they’re a part of the life we have to lead. I’m grateful that there’s a place here that can help those who need that extra hand,” Casper says.

The Reentry Center is located inside the Center For Hope on 530 East Anderson Street in Idaho Falls. To find out more information about the services offered go to Idaho Department of Correction website.

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