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GMCC Community Justice Project Evaluation.

Cici, Kristin

The Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches (GMCC) has operated since 1905 to battle poverty in Minneapolis. GMCC operates a successful family of social service programs and recruits support across denominational lines to help struggling Minnesota families remain self-reliant. The Community Justice Project (CJP) is a collaborative program, where the GMCC shares an employee with the Minneapolis Police Department and partners with the Hennepin County Adult Correctioal Facility to increase public safety by reducing recidivism through changing the behavior of offenders and effecting system chnge. Specifically, CJP operates a mentoring program for individuals about to be released from Hennepin County Adult Correctional Facilities. Each week CJP interviews inmates at the Adult Corrections Facility who are referred from three primary sources: the City and County Attorney's list of chronic offenders for the City of Minneapolis; the PREP program at the Adult Corrections Facility; and, self-referrals from inmates. After an inmate is interviewed CJP matches him or her with a mentor and/or refers the inmate to other agencies or resources. Project volunteers make a commitment to attend training and work with offenders prior to release and reentry back into the community. All mentors have a background check and attend a five hour training. Mentors commit to mentoring for at least one year, specifically, four hours per month to work with their mentee while they are incarcerated and after their release. CJP communicates with mentors on a monthly basis to provide ongoing support and supervision. The recently released Pew Center on the States report, One in 100: Behind Bars in America, 2008 notes that the gradual increase in prison population over the past thirty years has resulted in the sober fact that more than one in every 100 adults is now confined in an American jail or prison. The financial implication of this data is staggering, and as a result state and local government agencies are exploring new alternatives not only to save money, but also to improve public safety. Additionally, CJP has collected statistics on its participants and found that 55% of mentees stay connected with their mentor upon release. Of those that stay connected to their mentor, there is a less than 10% recidivism rate. CJP secured wanted to further understand how to improve the connectiveness of mentors and mentees.

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Prepared in partnership with the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches. Funded by a Communiversity Personnel Grant from the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA), University of Minnesota.
9 pp.
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