Faith-Based Forum Addresses Support for Returning Offenders
October 5, 2012 – The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services’ (DPSCS) faith-based forum, hosted October 4 in conjunction with the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Human Services and Neighborhoods, brought together about 150 religious leaders and volunteers working to help returning citizens.
DPSCS officials introduced the department’s reorganization, explaining that streamlining services will help to better utilize volunteers and other resources.
“When we help offenders build ties to the community – healthy, sustainable ties such as a relationship with a faith group – we are equipping them to see a different, more positive path than the one that landed them in prison,” Secretary Gary D. Maynard said.
Attendees said they were grateful for the networking opportunity and information materials available at the event, which was held at New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore.
Eugene Schneeberg, director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership for the U.S. Department of Justice, served as the event’s keynote speaker. Schneeberg coordinates the DOJ’s and White House’s efforts to partners with faith-based and nonprofit organizations across the country. One in 28 American children has an incarcerated parent, making efforts to help transition returning citizens all the more important, Schneeberg said.
“If given an opportunity to succeed and shown the way, they probably will,” said Stephanie Coates, chief of Religious Services for DPSCS and organizer of the event. “One life changed in a positive direction impacts future generations.”