Erie County Sheriff’s Office partnered with It Takes a Village Action Organization to rehabilitate inmates and get them ready for the post-release employment.
It Takes a Village was started by Beverly Newark eight years ago. With zero federal, state or local funding the non-profit goes into the correctional facilities to teach an eight week program. Newkirk’s team teaches life, communication, and self-identity skills to inmates.
“People are broken and nobody is doing anything about it. You bring them in and lock them up and they come out with the same idea and doing the same thing. How do we change that?” Newkirk said.
This afternoon eight inmates graduated the program at Erie County Correctional Facility. Emotional testimonies were given by inmates. They were also presented certificates of completions.
“Being in this program opened my eyes up a whole lot more than what I thought. I thought of myself better than that. I thought I was doing good for my kids and being a better father. (crying) But in reality I was hurting myself and my family. Good blessed me to see another day,” one inmate said.
Newkirk said she’s seen success from her program. That’s why she wants to expand it in the coming months.
“ If we can put the prisons out of business, which have become an industry off of our people, then we can build a community,” Newkirk said.