Helping someone help themselves was one of the primary goals of the recent “Community Supervision Resource Fair” held at the Surry County Community Corrections Office on Jan. 28. It was great to see not only the dozens of probationers and parolees show up and actively participate, but it was also good to see how many agencies turned out to help. By helping this population help themselves, the likelihood they will reoffend is reduced, thus making our communities safer.
That’s one of Gov. Pat McCrory’s top priorities — to make North Carolina safer. One way his administration is doing that is through implementation and continued growth of the Justice Reinvestment Act. In short, justice reinvestment is a data-driven approach to enact comprehensive criminal justice laws, policy and budget decisions designed to increase public safety while saving taxpayer dollars. Those savings are then reinvested back into programs that are proven to work in reducing recidivism.
The governor has shown his support for investing in North Carolina’s probation officers, the change makers that work daily to make all of our communities safer. In his budgets, the governor has advocated for funding for probation officer positions, as well as community-based substance abuse treatment services.
The job of a probation officer can be challenging as they constantly strive to ensure that those they supervise have the tools they need to be successful and productive individuals. I applaud the probation officers that put the resource fair together. The fair was a prime example of the just how dedicated the officers are to making all of our communities better.
Many studies and statistics show that employment, housing and treatment are key ingredients to helping ensure an offender does not repeat the cycle of crime. The resource fair was about connecting offenders with many of those resources—job assistance, transportation, counseling, financial planning and much more.
Just like all of us, everyone needs a helping hand from time to time. Thank you to the officers who organized the fair. Thank you to the agencies that participated, and most of all thank you for helping so many to help themselves.
David F. King is the Judicial District Manager for District 17 (Rockingham, Stokes and Surry counties) of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety