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Successful re-entry takes a village 

We need to help ex-inmates succeed in their return to our communities. The LA Times provided a thoughtful call to action in its editorial on Aug. 5, "California is releasing prison inmates in droves. It needs to help them re-enter society."

I've learned through facilitating projects in the criminal justice system and some volunteer work with local nonprofits like Restorative Partners how difficult it can be for returning citizens. They face family, health care, employment, and many other obstacles. (See, for example, the array of programs and services offered at restorativepartners.org.) Expanded availability and improved coordination of services will help people coming out of jail succeed. In turn, this will reduce future crimes and the high cost of prison.

It will take a coordinated village response for ex-inmates to succeed. The Times editorial calls for passage of Senate Bill 369, which would implement practical steps to address the issues and coordinate cost-effective public and private services. This bill is going for a hearing in the Assembly's Public Safety Committee on Aug. 13. I urge you to voice your support to Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham and to the committee itself.

Don Maruska

Los Osos

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