By Shahid Abdul-Karim, New Haven Register
When city residents are released from prison, Earl Bloodworth is often there to pick them up.
Bloodworth, 42, is the program manager for the Warren Kimbro Reentry Project, or WKRP, and he’s doing his part to help reduce recidivism in the city. Part of the need is transportation.
“It’s extremely challenging. We work with individuals who are at high to moderate risk to recidivate,” said Bloodworth, who is a New Haven native.
“We work with some of the toughest cases,” he said. “It’s our goal to try to change their thought process so they can make better decisions and get off of the carousel of coming in and out of prison.”
The project is a partnership between the city, Project MORE Inc., Easter Seals Goodwill Industries and the Community Action Agency of New Haven, according to the city website.
It’s named in honor of the late Warren Kimbro, former executive director of Project MORE, Inc., who was incarcerated at one time and helped rebuild his life and dedicated it to supporting thousands of people rebuild their lives after they returned to New Haven from prison.
The partners provide case management services and connect returning individuals to services offered by the many partners who supported Second Chance 2.0. (In 2015, Connecticut passed legislation to help ensure that nonviolent offenders are successfully reintegrated into society and become productive workers in Connecticut’s economy, by emphasizing treatment and rehabilitation over punishment for small nonviolent drug crimes, says 211.ct.org.)
Each month the city receives more than 100 parolees, probationers and others who have completed their sentence. Inmates are eligible for the project if they are at least 18 and are returning to the city or who may be released to parole, probation, halfway houses or are at the end of their sentence.
The project’s goal is to attain a 50 percent reduction in the recidivism rate of the target population within five years through a coordinated and individualized re-entry plan.
Bloodworth, who has been running the program for almost a year, oversees a $1 million budget that was part of a $2.3 million grant awarded to Connecticut by the U.S. Justice Department in October 2015. The New Haven grant is being used to focus on prisoners up to 12 months before their release to ensure they have jobs when they are released.