Lake County program to benefit ex-offenders
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent October 1, 2011 11:36PM
Updated: November 15, 2011 9:12AM
A Lake County program that helps offenders transition to life outside of incarceration will kick off the 78th annual Indiana Criminal Justice Association fall conference, being held Wednesday through Friday at the Radisson at Star Plaza in Merrillville.
A half-hour documentary on Positive Impact, run by Lake County Community Corrections, will be shown at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Star Plaza. The session, which includes remarks from founder Mark Murphy and program participants, is open to the public.
The program, started 20 years ago and the only one of its kind in the state, helps ex-offenders acclimate back into society by helping them find jobs and housing.
“It’s a just another way to help them adjust,” said Jeff Batchelor, the program’s residential manager.
Organizers hope the opening session draws upwards of 1,000 people, but the conference itself is expected to have about 350 attendees, said Eric Comeno, the association’s president and a training manager at Westville Correctional Facility.
In addition to the presentation on Positive Impact, the conference will include workshops, speakers and an awards dinner.
“The goal is networking with other professionals in the criminal justice, more knowledge, and sharing ideas,” he said, adding the conference moves around the state each year.
Positive Impact hasn’t received a lot of publicity and the association wanted to give it some recognition by offering it the opening session, Comeno said.
“It’s just a great program and we wanted to shine some light on it,” he said.