Lucas County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council hires Reentry Coordinators
The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) is pleased to announce the hiring of Tom McCarter and Demi Heiks as CJCC’s new Reentry Co-Coordinators. Mr. McCarter began work on Monday, July 8, 2013, and Ms. Heiks, a CJCC Program Officer, began transitioning to her new reentry responsibilities immediately upon being selected as co-coordinator on June 27, 2013.
McCarter is an attorney with more than forty years experience and has been an active member of the Northwest Ohio Reentry Coalition since 2008. He has served as a co-chair of the Reentry Coalition Legal Subcommittee and a member of the Executive Board. Ms. Heiks is a graduate of the Criminal Justice Graduate Program at the University of Toledo, and has worked at CJCC as a Program Officer and grants writer.
The Reentry Coalition of Northwest Ohio provides assistance through social service agencies to ex-offenders as they re-integrate into the community. The Coalition’s goal is to reduce recidivism by connecting ex-offenders with legal and social services available in NW Ohio. Over the past five years that the Reentry Coalition has been active, recidivism in Lucas County has been reduced to 28 percent, significantly below the national average of 43 percent. The coalition, as pioneered in Lucas County, is a model program which has been replicated in Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Montgomery Counties .
“When the Reentry Coalition approached me after their grant funding expired, I was impressed by their record of success,” stated Lucas County Commissioner Carol Contrada. “It was a county priority to develop a more sustainable funding source, as well as make a long-term commitment to reducing recidivism through support of effective reentry programs,” she added. Lucas County committed $40,000 to establishing a Re-entry Coordinator position, matched by the City of Toledo.
“The Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, as a well-established regional planning organization, is an ideal fit for this initiative,” added Judge James Bates, Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge and CJCC Chairman. “I would like to thank the City of Toledo and the Lucas County Commissioners for recognizing the need and importance of having a reentry team here in Lucas County. This new position through CJCC will provide coordination for an extensive network of reentry services.”
The CJCC established the Reentry Subcommittee, chaired by Commissioner Contrada, in early 2013. Members from CJCC include Toledo Municipal Court Judge Timothy Kuhlman, Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates, Oregon Police Chief Mike Navarre, and Toledo City Councilman Tom Waniewski.
David Kontur, Director of Lucas County Family Council, serves as President of the Reentry Coalition of Northwest Ohio. He said, “I commend Lucas County for stepping up to ensure the long term viability of reentry services in Northwest Ohio. Both Tom and Demi will be tremendous assets in strengthening the work of reentry and growing the resources to sustain this work in Lucas County.”