The resource guide aims to give citizens impacted by the justice system the tools to successfully reenter and reconnect with their communities.

(L-R) Renny Smith, Families of the Wrongfully Convicted; community activist Jamila Davis; Felicia Henry, NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice; Laurie Parise, Youth Represent; Liliana Polo Mcenna, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow; Carol Ying, Brownsville Academy High School; Bishop Lamor Whitehead, Kareem Nelson, Wheelchairs Against Guns. Photo courtesy Office of Senator Hamilton.

State Senator Jesse Hamilton introduced a new resource guide for the formerly incarcerated and announced a $200,000 boost for technology and workforce development funding awarded Brownsville Academy High School and Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow. Hamilton was joined by justice advocates from various organizations including Brownsville Community Justice Center, Families of the Wrongfully Convicted and Youth Represent as well as educators at Brownsville Academy High School when he made his announcement on Thursday.

“New Yorkers need us to pursue a justice system that has the twice blessed quality of mercy, ‘It blesseth him that gives and him that takes,’ instead of a justice system with too little compassion, too little forgiveness and too little wisdom to see our common humanity,” said Hamilton. “We must pursue the humane approach. We need to give the formerly incarcerated the tools to successfully reenter, reintegrate and reconnect with our communities.”

The resource guide “Back to the Basics: A Resource Guide for the Formerly Incarcerated” was created in partnership with the Brownsville Community Justice Center, an organization dedicated to re-engineering how the justice system works in Brownsville. The guide offers information on groups who provide various services to help young offenders, veterans, LGBT and women, including education, housing employment and health services as well as legal assistance.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to lead a productive life,” continued Hamilton in his address. “That is why it is so important to support our community-based organizations, our educators and our neighborhood institutions that provide those kinds of opportunities on an inclusive basis – their work uplifts all New Yorkers.”

The senator also announced $165,000 in tech funding directed to Brownsville Academy High School to purchase 3D printers, to provide teachers and students with training and access to cutting-edge technology. Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, an organization focused on workforce development, empowering youth with access to jobs and providing employment skills, received $50,000.

“The common theme here is being inclusive. Ensuring that no matter who you are, no matter what your background, you have access to success,” said Hamilton. “All the community groups joining us today are doing important work to ensure access to opportunities for our communities. I’m proud to support the outstanding work of educators here at Brownsville Academy High School. Ensuring everyone has access to opportunity is also why I’m proud to support the work of Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow.”

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