New Journey: Female ex-offenders are reclaiming their lives

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ROCHESTER, NY – (WROC) – A local organization is helping women reclaim their lives. The Judicial Commission Project runs the New Journey program. The program supports incarcerated women after being release from prison or jail.

I’m in jail and I am separated from my kids and that was hard,” said Tawana Martin, a New Journey participant. “It was definitely times when things got hard and I thought they would never get better but they did.”

Without help female ex-offenders have more than a 60 percent chance of being reincarcerated.

‘These women are mothers so what we are doing to try and help them,” said Susan Porter, executive director of the Judicial Commission Project. “Empower them to make significant changes in their lives and avoid reincarceration.”

The program can assist moms in reconnecting with their kids. It also provides many support services to make sure they succeed.

“Housing referrals to treatment services, mentoring, help with emergency food,” said Porter.

“They have even helped me with my security deposit, things for my house, bus passes. Even the groups are helpful,” said Martin.

Amber Lawrence who is studying to be a nurse says without New Journey she wouldn’t have been able to regain self-worth.

“I don’t. I don’t,” said Lawrence. Because they are so supportive and they don’t make you feel inferior.”

Or see her dreams come true.

“I see myself being a wonderful mother and just being a part of society that I really never thought for a long time I would be,” said Lawrence.

The Judicial Process Commission works with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Monroe County Correctional Facility. They try to help at least 75 women a year,

The New Journey program relies on volunteer mentors. For more details click here.

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