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Last July, Radcliff resident Elke Shea’s grandson was incarcerated, and in a little more than three months, he will be released from Hardin County Detention Centerl.
Navigating the courts and corrections systems has not been easy for the family, Shea said, and they are looking forward to her grandson’s release.
“Number one, he is going to have to look for a job,” she said. “He’ll need new friends, new activities.”
“We’re going forward now,” Shea added. “He can do it. He can be successful in life.”
Shea was one of about 20 who attended the Department of Corrections’ family engagement session Tuesday night at Memorial United Methodist Church in Elizabethtown.
The two-part session is a new initiative the DOC launched in February in Bowling Green, according to a news release.
The first hour was geared toward families of newly incarcerated inmates, providing information and tips about visitation days, parole hearings, communicating with inmates and programs available to offenders, such as substance abuse and parenting classes.
The second half of each session is designed for families of inmates who are nearing release with information focusing on the family’s role in re-entry, supervision requirements and what to expect while a loved one is under parole supervision.
During the meeting, representatives from the DOC, Kentucky Parole Board, Probation and Parole District 5 in Elizabethtown and area service providers were present to answer questions from families.
Re-entry branch manager Brigid Adams said the state has 11 re-entry council sites, including one in Elizabethtown.
Tuesday’s meeting marked the first family engagement session in Elizabethtown, she said.
“If even one family member shows up, it’s a success,” Adams said.
Family and marital problems are one of four top factors that contribute to criminal behavior, she said, which is why the DOC reaches out to inmates’ loved ones.
The DOC intends to host a family engagement session at each site once a quarter, Adams said. However, the next session in Elizabethtown has not been scheduled.
More information about re-entry resources and family engagement sessions is available at corrections.ky.gov/reentry.
Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.