Albany Works initiative will tackle Southwest Georgia recidivism

March 12 – ALBANY – The City of Albany, in partnership with the Albany City Court, announced the launch of the Albany Works Community Court Initiative.

AW’s goal is to provide a problem-solving role in the community using sentencing strategies to address recidivism. These strategies will connect offenders to the services they need to prevent re-offending and develop meaningful alternatives to incarceration.

The initiative is designed to enable individuals to access assistance and services offered by local nonprofits and educational entities that focus on employment, education, job readiness and medical/behavioral services.

The Municipal Court will serve as a “conduit” where those in need who appear before the bench are connected to community resources and services that will support their journey to self-reliance.

Individuals must reside in the Southwest Georgia area and be referred to the Albany Works Community Court Initiative through the City Court to be eligible to participate.

Individuals offered AW assistance through the court and who agree to participate in the initiative will undergo a needs assessment and receive an individualized action plan that will connect them directly to resources and community services. Accountability coaches will be used to help participants navigate the process, and community service opportunities have been expanded to include placement with municipal services and community nonprofit organizations. Successful completion of the program could result in expungement from a participant‘s legal records.

This plan will include terms of reference from the courts and Nicole Saint-Cyr, the court case manager, will monitor participants’ progress and compliance and act as a liaison between the court and community service providers.

“Justice demands that the court see individuals rather than numbers of defendants,” said Albany City Court Chief Judge Willie Weaver. “Getting to the underlying source of the behavior and then addressing the underlying issues will give individuals a chance to become and remain productive citizens.”

Going forward, the Municipal Court will also expand its operations by adding evening hours and remote locations for hearings on specific topics. The launch of this phase will be announced at a later date.

This initiative is funded by an Aid Planning and Implementation Grant from the Bureau of Justice.

To learn more about Albany Works, contact Saint-Cyr by email at [email protected] or Debra McFadden-Bryant, the project coordinator, at

[email protected]

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