“We have to do something for them to help them be productive. If not, they will just return back to a life that they had before.” says Kerry Mears with the Southern Kentucky Reentry Council.
Today the Southern Kentucky Reentry Council held its first ever reentry expo with over 30 vendors and even an expungement information session.
Karen Rediess has been incarcerated multiple times but has since turned her life around. She is now on the Southern Kentucky Reentry Council Board and is now opening a brand-new treatment center for women called, The Monarch Journey Center (expected to open in March 2019)
“Well it makes me feel good. I am here for my family and friends that are still out there.” says Rediess.
The expo featured a variety of businesses, non-profit, and faith-based organizations who offer many different types of resources to help former inmates.
These resources are vital to those who have recently been behind bars.
“To know that there are resources out there for them. To know that there are people that understand this and will work with them regardless of the type of crime that they had. Misdemeanor, felony, it doesn’t matter. Everyone here will work with those. It’s all second chances.” adds Mears.
“It gives people like myself a better chance to grow and to actually better ourselves, find better jobs, education, and learn more than we would any other place. This place gives you a second chance to look at life and what you want to do with it.” says James Miller, a former inmate.
The Southern Kentucky Reentry Council works directly with the local jails, but many jailers, like Tracy Bellamy, start preparing inmates before they are released.
“It’s our job to throw everything possible at them to try to make a difference so they are ready. So hopefully they will change the path that they are on and go work to become productive citizens. We have the resources to do it and we are willing to put in the time and energy. It’s needed.” says Tracy Bellamy, the Barren County Jailer.
The Southern Kentucky Reentry Council was established just this past summer and has already helped dozens of former inmates.
They plan to host the reentry expo again next year.
If you want to learn more about the Southern Kentucky Reentry Council visit: