Editorial: Justice reform in W-S

Participants celebrate graduation from the S.O.A.R. Program on Thursday, Dec. 20 at Belview Neighborhood Center.

Editorial: Justice reform in W-S
December 27
10:47 2018

Last week, President Donald Trump officially signed the First Step Act, which is a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that expands early release for good behavior programs, promotes job training and relaxes mandatory minimum-sentencing rules for most nonviolent drug crimes.

Even though Congress should be applauded for its efforts, it would be a dereliction of duty to overlook the justice reform that is being implemented on the local level here in Winston-Salem.

On last Thursday, eight people successfully graduated from the Successful Outcome After Release Program, (S.O.A.R), which is a City of Winston-Salem sponsored work force development program for former offenders. Participants work in various city departments for the City of Winston-Salem at least 30 hours a week and undergo life skills training such as resume writing, financial management, and job search techniques.

The S.O.A.R. Program has served Winston-Salem residents since 2014 and has been directly responsible for reducing recidivism by providing former offenders with opportunities for gainful employment. A second component of the S.O.A.R. Program provides grant funding to nonprofit and community organizations that create opportunities for community youth and former offenders.

The United States of America has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. We are truly blessed to have local justice reform programs such as S.O.A.R and federal justice reform programs like the First Step Act that will keep families together and strengthen our neighborhoods and communities.

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