The Reconnections program is a prisoner re-entry initiative that we have operated since 2011.
It has provided wrap around services and community linkages to meet the many needs of over 1,500 men and women who were previously incarcerated and were released on parole and probation or maxed out into Union County.
Reconnections assists formerly incarcerated gain access to services and resources so that that may develop meaningful, productive skills use to make their lives better. The program also provides essential supportive services to address the individuals immediate needs to ensure his or her successful reintegration to the community.
For more information, call 908-351-7200
Cathy Waters - Program Manager
The primary goal is to lead the individual to self sufficiency and to reduce the recidivism rate in Union County.
Case Managers provide assistance and link returning citizens to resources and supportive services in the following areas:
Upon entering the Reconnections program each client is assessed in the areas of social services, housing, healthcare, mental health/substance abuse counseling, employment, education and legal needs.
The Case Manager works with each Reconnections client to develop a clearly defined goal-oriented service plan to meet their specific needs. The client is empowered to set goals that they desire to meet, and the Case Manager will guide them to the necessary resources needed for goal achievement. The program utilizes a supportive team approach to meet the client’s needs and we coordinated with members of the local community agency network, including the Union County Reentry Task Force, HSAC and COC.
The program was developed through a partnership between Urban League of Union County, United Way of Greater Union County and the County of Union Department of Human Services.
Other affiliates include, New Jersey State Parole, Union County Vicinage of Probation, New Jersey Department of Corrections, Union County Division of Social Services, Neighborhood Health Services, Legal Services of New Jersey, Trinitas Hospital, Overlook Hospital, Center path Wellness, Bridgeway, Blessed Ministries, employers and many other community agencies.
The program is funded by the Union County Department of Human services and is co-located in the American Job Centers/One Stop Centers, located in Elizabeth and Plainfield.
Union County Re-Entry Task Force
The Reconnections Program Manager Chairs the Union County Reentry Task Force. The Task Force, organized is 2006, initially focused on the needs of the parole population in the areas of employment, substance abuse addictions, faith-based initiatives, family restoration and mental health treatment. In subsequent years the Re-entry task force expanded its focus to include the county jail population – Union County Probationers and Max-Outs. United Way became the sponsoring organization. In October 2011 the responsibility of the Task Force transitioned to the Urban League of Union County. Cathy Waters, Urban League and Robert Kantor, N.J. State Parole Board currently co-chair the meetings.
The Task Force members include staff from the N.J. State Parole Board, Union County Probation, N.J. Department of Labor, Union County American Job Centers/One Stop Centers,
Federal Probation, Union County Drug Court, Union County Department of Human Services, Union County College, housing agencies, healthcare providers, faith-based agencies, attorneys, employers, various other community agencies and returning citizens. The committee members work diligently to develop resources, support systems and promote solutions to successfully transition back into the Union County Community. The Task Force have hosted several community forums that panels of the returned citizens who had the opportunity to voice their concerns to local and state legislators, as a result of the meeting policy changes have been implemented which has resulted in the reentry population having better resources and a smoother transition back into the community.
Reconnections participants receive bookbags with toiletries and other necessities
Reconnections participants attending the Life skills session
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1139 E. Jersey St., Suite 515
Elizabeth, NJ 07201