ex-offenders | WMUK

ex-offenders

Earlene McMichael |WMUK

Public defender’s offices provide free legal help for criminal defendants who can’t afford an attorney. But Kalamazoo County’s office also provides assistance with substance abuse, mental health, employment and other challenges. The approach is believed to be breaking new ground.


Courtesy Photo | Urban Alliance

There's a grassroots group in Kalamazoo's Edison Neighborhood gaining national attention for its success finding employment for harder-to-place job seekers, like ex-offenders, those with disabilities and single mothers re-entering the workforce. Momentum Urban Employment Initiative was founded four years ago this October. Ninety-three percent of its participants get full-time jobs, officials say. 


iStock/Danny Bailey

Kalamazoo Vice-Mayor Don Cooney says there is reason to be concerned about hiring or providing housing to someone with a criminal record. But he says “if we don’t give people a chance, what are their options, except to go back?” 


pixabay.com

Tonight wraps up the "Unequal Justice" series of forums sponsored by Western Michigan University's Institute for the Study for Race and Ethnic Relations. For the last two months, the series has sought to raise awareness and generate solutions to America's high incarceration rate, particularly of people of color. The forum at 7 p.m. today, the fourth and final installment, is titled "Re-Imagining Kalamazoo With Justice for All." Officials will present several proposals for input.

Ed Yourdon / flickr

A year of behind-the-scenes work is culminating today in the City of Kalamazoo's first event as part of its new Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo initiative aimed at reducing poverty, especially among children. At 7 o'clock tonight, officials invite the public to hear a message of hope and strategy from Richard V. Reeves, a senior fellow in economic studies at The Brookings Institution. He speaks at the Fetzer Center on the Western Michigan University campus. 

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