Meeting Minutes June 23, 2016
GREATER GWINNETT REENTRY ALLIANCE
MINUTES OF MEETING
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Gwinnett County Detention Center
Pastor Lee Robbins said
the blessing for the special meal of hotdogs and hamburgers prepared by the GCDC, and he thanked Col. Pinkard for providing the food for
Pastor Lee then
presented President Russell Gray in
honor of his birthday and all sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
President Russell Gray
called the meeting to order and recognized Col.
Pinkard, who welcomed everyone to the GCDC
and presented Deputy Baird, a former
employee in charge of GRIP who has
returned and will be helping Deputy
Strauss. The colonel also thanked everyone for supporting the reelection of
Sheriff Butch Conway to four more
years of service and pointed out the plaque on the wall which contained a
proclamation from the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners to recognize the
outstanding work of GRIP and the
supporting role played by the GGRA, Viewpoint, and United Way. He also
thanked all the staff at the GCDC for
the great job they are doing.
welcomed all new members and recognized the many first-time guests and church
volunteers who were in attendance. The two meeting rooms were filled with about
75 people—great attendance!
presented the first speaker on the program, Chief Tripp Powers, Coordinating
Chief of the Department of Community Supervision (DCS) which was founded in
July 2015 by Gov. Nathan Deal and
the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice
Reform. It combined the offices of probation and parole. The website is https://dcs.georgia.gov/location/lawrenceville. Chief Powers began his career as a
probation officer with the mentality of “trail ‘em and jail ‘em.” He then went
to Athens where he saw some of the people he had jailed straightening out their
lives and finding jobs and became a believer in transforming lives.
The DCS has been authorized to recruit a
Community Coordinator charged with working with the community to help meet the
most pressing needs of returning citizens.
Since most returning citizens are going to be on probation and/or parole
the Community Coordinator will report to Chief Powers, who will announce his
choice from among several qualified candidates as soon as final approval comes
down from State DCS. The community
Coordinator will recruit volunteer committee chairpersons under him/her to make
up a Transition Team. A Steering Team
will also be formed to be made up of entities like DFCS, GGRA, GRIP, Goodwill,
Salvation Army, etc as an Advisory Council.
invited any individual, group or entity to volunteer their help with any of the
above volunteer positions.
Chief Powers then
introduced Mike Kraft, Director of Court/Board/Field Services in
the DCS. He shared briefly about his roll working with the courts, boards
and the many services available to provide the help necessary for returning
citizens to find and stay on the right path. Phone: 404-357-3773.
next speaker introduced by Chief Powers
was Lisa Brown, Chief Housing Coordinator for the Department of Community Supervision
(DCS). Her website is https://dcs.georgia.gov/reentry-services-unit. She
supervises two housing programs: Reentry
Partnership Housing (RPH) and Transition
Housing for Offender Reentry (THOR). Both programs serve both men and
women, including expectant mothers. She made a point that inmates cannot make
parole without a DCS approved place to live. Email: email@example.com.
third speaker from the DCS was Rev. Tony
Lowden, Healing Communities Coordinator. He is working to build the
capacity of all faiths, businesses, and non-profits and offers training for
those interested in participating. This type of program was begun in Detroit, Michigan, and was tailored to
meet the needs in Georgia by the Faith Council established by Gov. Nathan Deal. Website: https://dcs.georgia.gov/healing-communities-georgia.
last, but by no means least, of the speakers of the day, was Senior Pastor Richard B. Haynes of Salem Missionary Baptist Church, Lilburn.
Website: www.thechurchwithzeal.org. He shared a very
inspirational message from Jeremiah 18
where God told the prophet Jeremiah
to go to the potter’s house to watch a marred piece of pottery transformed into
something beautiful in the Potter’s
hands. It was the perfect example of what is possible in the life of an inmate
when he/she submits to whatever breaking and remaking process God chooses to
use. God never gives up on those who have been broken, no matter how many
times, and neither should we.
all the information given on the importance of housing for returning citizens, Russell Gray shared a story from a
newspaper article about a man who was robbed and killed in his car where he was
sleeping in the parking lot of his workplace. He had no other place to lay his
Col. Pinkard acknowledged all the hard work Russell Gray has put into the GGRA,
thanked him for all he does, and presented him with a new fishing pole for his
announced that she had a list of job openings available for returning citizens
that day and passed out copies to nay in need of a job.
was invited to attend the closed circuit TV broadcast to the inmates with
messages by Rev. Tony Lowden and Pastor Haynes.
Chaplain Booker was
called on to pray the benediction.