Uniontown, Ala. – On Thursday, Governor Kay Ivey cut the ribbon to officially announce the opening of the Perry County Probation and Parole Reentry Education Program – or PREP – Center. Event attendees at the PREP Center learned more about this innovative new location through informational sessions, special guest speakers and a walkthrough of the facility.
The PREP Center provides reentry and rehabilitation services for probationers and parolees, encouraging incarceration diversion as a sanction response and an option for justice involved individuals to receive support services and resolve barriers to successful reintegration. The residential facility will serve up to 250 male participants throughout the year, providing plenty of space for rehabilitative programming as the location was initially designed for approximately 700 people.
The program enables probationers and parolees to complete a sanction and complete programming outside of the Alabama Department of Corrections general population. Previously, probationers and parolees were required to complete sanctions in ADOC custody. The PREP Center provides an alternative where participants can receive rehabilitative services by Bureau staff and program providers. Priority areas of service include Clarke, Dallas, Greene, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Sumter and Washington counties, with services available to additional surrounding counties. Additional expansion is planned for the future.
Governor Kay Ivey presented the keynote address at the ribbon cutting, praising the program as a step forward for Alabama celebrating the collaboration of multiple state entities.
“The PREP Center will be an important tool in ensuring safe communities as we help lead folks during the transition from serving time in our corrections system to becoming productive citizens. This location is the first of its kind for Alabama,” said Governor Ivey.
The two primary program providers at the PREP Center are the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Ingram State Technical College.
Alabama Department of Mental Health certified substance abuse and mental health treatment will be provided by a treatment coordinator at the PREP Center to complete evidence based ADMH certified assessments and provide outpatient drug treatment, intensive outpatient drug treatment, referrals for in patient drug treatment and aftercare. The treatment coordinator provides mental health assistance, individual counseling, and referrals for in-patient mental illness per assessed need. The treatment coordinator will prepare an aftercare plan for the continuation of care upon release.
ADMH Commissioner Kimberly Boswell said, “A major step in the path to mental health recovery is the ability to connect with ourselves and our community. The Perry County PREP Center is a crucial point on that path for individuals ready to improve upon their personal and professional skills and succeed. We are thankful to be part of this essential partnership, which will give hope to thousands reentering their communities.”
Education and employment readiness services are provided by the Alabama Community College System and Ingram State Technical College. The instructors will assess each participant for education needs with the TABE assessment tool. Each participant supervised at PREP is required to complete mandatory adult education hours towards their general education diploma. If a participant has previously obtained their general education diploma or has their high school diploma, they will be assessed for an available technical program or be referred directly to the Work Ready program.
ISTC also announced the beginning of construction on an educational building at the PREP Center and plans to offer classes in barbering, building construction, HVAC and plumbing.
“With a focus on high-wage, high-demand jobs, Ingram State is proud to partner with ABPP to offer technical programming and adult basic education,” ISTC President Annette Funderburk said. “We will focus on preparing the residents to become responsible citizens and become job ready. Job placement will be a focus for these residents once the program is complete.”
Event attendees listened to the testimony of Richard Waldrep, a Day Reporting Center participant who overcame drug addiction with help from Bureau programs. Additionally, Randy Rhodes, President of Harvest Select Catfish Company, represented local businesses in the area capable of providing quality jobs to PREP Center participants.
“Reducing recidivism works when we invest in programs to help people get back on their feet and succeed,” said Bureau Director Cam Ward.
Special guest speakers at the event also included Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy Baker and Alabama Seventh District U.S. House Representative Terri Sewell. Also in attendance were ADOC Commissioner John Hamm, Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Hal Taylor, Senator Bobby Singleton, Representative Prince Chestnut and Representative A.J. McCampbell.
The PREP Center is located at 4805 U.S. Highway 80 in Uniontown. Transportation for participants will be organized with the ADOC, local sheriff departments and jail administrators. Photos of the event can be found here for publishing and broadcasting purposes.