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Category: 2011
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Project Peer Connection, an innovative mentoring program for releasing offenders with a history of substance use in Worcester County, Massachusetts was recently featured in Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, a national award-winning publication of Wiley Periodicals.

According to author Gary Enos, "For many offenders, Project Peer Connection eases a reintegration process that can prove daunting. So far, a typical story resembles that of an offender who was released from his third incarceration, has met once a week with his mentor, and in that time he has moved from a shelter into permanent housing, worked out his Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, and secured part-time employment."

On reading the article, Linda Rosenberg, President & CEO of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, commented, "The Project Peer Connection model is truly remarkable. The use of volunteers as mentors to assist those individuals with substance abuse issues re-entering society is critical to their care."

The program has successfully trained more than 30 mentors and enrolled 42 inmates in little more than six months. No program participants have violated conditions of parole and none have been arrested on new charges since the program began late last year. The program has also developed key partnerships with the local parole office, sober houses, one-stop career centers, libraries and other groups in addition to the Department of Correction that have proven instrumental in meeting the needs of releasing offender.

Project Peer Connection embraces mentors from all walks of life. If you are interested in becoming mentor, feel free to contact Norman Mclinden at 508-792-5400 X 7121 for more information.