Reporting by WVUA 23 Reporter Chelsea Barton Citiz

first_imgReporting by WVUA 23 Reporter Chelsea BartonCitizens of Greensboro have mixed emotions about a prisoner rehabilitation program said to be coming to the Catfish Capital. The program is called Jumpstart and operates similar to a halfway house. Jumpstart is based out of South Carolina. Those involved in the program said they are planning to open a west Alabama location in Greensboro where those recently released from prison can live temporarily. Greensboro residents say they are more than concerned.“My issue is not what they are trying to do,” Greensboro resident Holly Stemmler said. “But it’s the location. It’s in a residential area. There’s a school a block and a half from the front of the house and a block and a half from the back of the house.”The program aims to help recently released inmates transition back into society socially and economically.“What we are trying to do is to create safer communities by helping people have another opportunity in life, so it is a win-win for everyone,” Cary Sanders, Jumpstart’s inside director, said.However, Greensboro City Police Chief Michael Hamilton said if Jumpstart begins operating in his city, it will be illegal. He said the city council voted against the program coming to town, but Sanders said this is the first he’s heard of legal issues concerning the Greensboro project.“I had no knowledge of any of that,” Sanders said. “And if it comes down to a zoning issue, if it is legal zoning-wise, some people may not like it but I don’t know if they could legally stop it.”One of those residents who does not like the idea is Stemmler. She said it is the uncertainty that worries her most.“I have a 4 year old,” she said. “I don’t know these people. But the types of prisoners that are coming into the house, to this area, this neighborhood,” she said. “We don’t know who they are, what they’ve done, what their demeanor is outside of four walls. So who is to say they are not a danger to our neighborhood and that they’re not going to wreak havoc on an area that doesn’t need it?”The concerns and questions keep coming.“There’s not stuff here in Greensboro to keep people busy,” Stemmler said. “We don’t have a mall or a movie theater or other things to do so they have to find a way to entertain themselves.”And, it seems, with every suggestion for a solution comes with another dose of anxiety.“Well, they say they are going to get them jobs,” Stemmler said. “OK, there’s not jobs here in Greensboro for the citizens that live here. My husband drives all the way to Cottondale for work. Where are they going to get them jobs?”Sanders said he understands residents’ worries but only hopes they can keep an open mind if the program does proceed.“Everyone wants those coming out of incarceration to get some help for the most part,” Sanders said. “They don’t want them going back to prison and spending more tax money or creating additional victims, they just don’t want them living next door. They’re living next door, but when they’ve got help, they’re less likely to harm someone else.”Another public hearing will be held at Greensboro City Hall to discuss the matter on May 14 at 6:30 p.m.last_img

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