New Jersey residential reentry alumni celebrate recovery

Former residents, family members and staff gathered to celebrate the successes of New Jersey residential reentry alumni at the 18th Annual Alumni Barbecue, an event we previewed earlier in September, in Iselin, New Jersey.

The graduates are now pursuing drug- and crime-free lives after completing evidence-based reentry programming provided by Education & Health Centers of America Inc. and GEO Reentry Services. GEO Reentry Services is the service provider for EHCA in New Jersey centers.

Held during National Recovery Month, the barbecue was designed to acknowledge recovery and positive change through successful reentry treatment. “We recognize the importance of giving second chances and providing important reentry services to offenders,” said Arthur Townes, director of New Jersey Alumni Services.

GEO Reentry Services and EHCA hosted the event, which drew attendees from both New Jersey and Pennsylvania residential reentry centers. Guests of honor at the event included Derrick D. Schofield, GEO’s executive vice president of continuum of care and reentry services; Dr. Ralph Fretz, GEO’s director of post-release services; Dr. Robert Mackey, EHCA’s chief executive officer; Tom Brady, EHCA’s chief compliance officer; and John Clancy, Jr., EHCA’s chief operating officer.

“It was very rewarding to have the opportunity to reunite with alumni and share good news about those living crime and drug free,” Townes said. “To see our members continuing to help others, pursue education, maintain jobs and be supportive members of their families was extremely gratifying.”

The celebration included music, games and entertainment for adults and children alike including face painting, a petting zoo, balloons, a jump-around and special guest visits by a Minion and Sparky the Fire-Prevention Dog. T-shirts were designed and produced by alumni members and were distributed to the crowd.

Alumni Services is the aftercare component of reentry treatment programming, established to offer resources and support services that will assist graduates of residential reentry programs to successfully reenter society. Former residents who are no longer supervised in the criminal justice system and have been successful in the community serve as role models for current residents as they transition back into society. Alumni members act as mentors and assist those newly reentering the community with referrals for jobs, education, housing, 12-step meetings and community service.

Alumni Services groups throughout New Jersey host monthly meetings where graduates of residential reentry centers have an opportunity to share experiences and information with current offenders.

Learn more about GEO Reentry’s residential reentry programming.