For previously incarcerated adults, returning to their day-to-day lives can often come with a set of unique challenges. For example, accessing necessary resources like employment, housing, or food may be difficult. In addition, ex-offenders are at a higher risk of recidivism and relapse without the proper support. Thankfully, the wonderful people at Helping Arms are here to provide transitional support services to adult offenders re-emerging in the greater Trenton community.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Helping Arms will be available at the Trenton Public Library to connect individuals with their services. Helping Arms supports adult offenders over 18 who have been convicted, incarcerated, and will be returning to the Trenton area. Services are also available for court-involved or under probation and parole supervision. Since 1998, Helping Arms has provided counseling, employment placement services, housing, and other social services. They partner with several local organizations, including the New Jersey Dept. of Corrections, Community Education Centers, Opportunities for All, and more, to make vital resources accessible and meet the needs of the population they serve.

Participants in the program can access a variety of assistance, including case management, employment, and education opportunities, housing services, computer-supported education, drug treatment services, mental health referrals, and mentoring. Their program provides a holistic approach for individuals in transition, helping ease clients into broader society. Many of the program’s participants have gone on to live happy, productive lives as they reacclimate to public life. True to their mission, their success stories tell a tale of lives that have been fundamentally transformed.

Per a participant testimonial by Helping Arms, “I was homeless and stayed at the Rescue Mission where there was a bed for me. I learned about Helping Arms, and they helped me move into transitional housing. I have my bed now and don’t have to worry about being homeless. Helping Arms staff really cares about me. A case manager was assigned to me and helped me resolve many problems. They helped me search for jobs and taught me computer skills so I can complete job applications. I am now moving into my own permanent room, been offered a job and continue to improve my life.”

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, interventional programming is critical in preventing re-offenses. Research indicates that even after imprisonment, many individuals fail to reintegrate into society as law-abiding citizens. The UN notes that interventions can best be carried out when done in the community versus by utilizing punitive action. By offering transitional services, formerly incarcerated individuals have a better chance of overcoming some stigmas associated with incarceration. Meaningful employment and educational opportunities, services, and community support are all critical components in a successful reintroduction to the world around them.

If you or a loved one could benefit from these services, please do not hesitate to contact the Trenton Public Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays for additional information. If you have questions, contact the Helping Arms team here: Contact Us – Helping Arms. Details regarding all Helping Arms has to offer can be found here: Helping Arms – Home. As our previously incarcerated neighbors return to our communities, organizations like Helping Arms can provide these populations with a much-needed welcome home.

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