Reentry Awards honors Bridgeport activists, partners, and former offenders

With Governor Malloy announcing new statewide reforms to further reduce crime and reintegrate nonviolent offenders, The Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative will be celebrating the collective success of former offenders, advocates, and businesses who have demonstrated their commitment to effective reintegration.

The event marks the fifth annual Bridgeport Reentry Awards Ceremony and will take place on Friday, April 29, at 6 p.m. at Housatonic Community College (HCC). The Collaborative will issue awards for Personal Achievement, Professional of the Year, and Community Partner of the Year. This year’s Urdang-Torres Community Impact Award will be shared by Scott Wilderman, president/CEO of Career Resource, Inc., and A. Stephen Lanza, Executive Director of Family ReEntry, Inc. Both Wilderman and Lanza were responsible for creating the Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative in May 2007 as a means of bringing together the many local Bridgeport agencies that provide diverse reentry services to the men and women returning from incarceration. The Collaborative now has more than 35 members comprised of local nonprofits, employers and state agencies.

Guest speakers at this year’s event include the Honorable Mayor Joseph Ganim, Senator Richard Blumenthal, OPM Undersecretary for Criminal Justice, Michael Lawlor, state Senators Ed Gomes (Bridgeport) and Tony Hwang (Fairfield) along with Connecticut Department of Correction Commissioner Scott Semple.

“It’s all about second chances in a way that works for everyone,” said Dan Braccio, Co-Chair of the Collaborative. “When we formed the Reentry Collaborative nine years ago, people were just waking up to the fact that we need to provide a better road home to the citizens we incarcerate. It’s an honor to celebrate this work.”

“We hear again and again from employers that people who have been incarcerated are the best employees-dedicated, hardworking and willing to learn and succeed,” added Scott K. Wilderman, President/CEO of Career Resources and Co-Chair of the Collaborative. “This group has provided a critical forum for all of us to learn from and about each other, and to spread the message to employers and others in the community that former offenders have done their time and deserve a second chance.”

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