Bush to visit city re-entry program

Faith-based Jericho helps ex-convicts

January 29, 2008|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,Sun reporter

Emphasizing his support for community work done by faith-based groups, President Bush is scheduled to visit a Baltimore program today that provides job assistance and counseling to recently released prisoners.

Bush will talk about faith-based initiatives at Jericho in East Baltimore, a program run by Episcopal Community Services of Maryland. The president's comments will reinforce the continued commitment to such services he discussed during last night's State of the Union address, the White House said.

Bush's visit also commemorates the seventh anniversary of the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives.

Founded in 1988, Jericho has assisted 365 men in making the transition from prison to freedom, said Jean Cushman, executive director of Episcopal Community Services. In 2005, it was one of 30 programs to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Labor's Prisoner Re-entry Initiative.

Jericho's employment assistance includes training in anger management, on-the-job comportment, resume writing and job search techniques, according to the group's Web site. The program also provides recovery support groups, and bus passes and clothing so clients can look for jobs. It is available to clients older than 18, convicted of nonviolent crimes who have been released in the last six months.

"We just can't imagine the barriers these men face," Cushman said. "It's just one thing after another."

Bush created a faith-based office in 2001 to give such groups a boost in competing for federal funds.

The president also discussed re-entry programs in his 2004 State of the Union address, saying "when the gates of the prison open, the path ahead should lead to a better life."

In November, the White House hosted a national re-entry workshop in Los Angeles.

david.nitkin@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Jean Marbella contributed to this article.

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