Insights and Perspective

 

Insights and Perspective

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Read the latest from Geographic Solutions.

On the Front Lines of Reentry: Ben Conarroe at PRO Mentors

In honor of Second Chance Month, Geographic Solutions is profiling the professionals working with justice-involved individuals. The important work they do is key to reintegration into the labor market and the fabric of society.

Ben Conarroe is no stranger to the field of reentry. Prior to founding the PRO Mentors Christian Reentry Program in the San Diego County jails in 2013, Conarroe worked alongside The Navigators US Military Ministry where he led Christian studies in the Navy brig at MCAS Miramar. He has also served as a campus staff member for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and as part-time Executive Director of the Restorative Justice Mediation Program, a Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program.

Ben, please tell us about the reentry work you do at PRO Mentors.

PRO Mentors is a faith-based reentry program in the San Diego County jails. We meet men while they are in custody, visit them regularly, and continue meeting with them after they are released. In San Diego County, partnerships exist between Law Enforcement and Community Organizations, and there is a strong emphasis on the “warm handoff” between custody and release. PRO Mentors works with the Sheriff’s Department (custody) and the Probation Department (supervision after release), as well as many others in the partnership.

Which practice has been most effective in preparing individuals for life after incarceration?

The best preparation for life after custody is [developing] healthy relationships with trusted people.  It takes time and energy to build trust with a man in custody.  Most people in custody have trust issues; helping them to trust anyone can be a daunting task.

This is not easy work; what motivates you?

What motivates me is a belief that every life is worth the effort. There are some men that have been in and out of our program for five years and have been abandoned by family and friends. If they keep responding to us, however, we will continue to do whatever we can.

We thank Ben for his insight and applaud his efforts. No doubt he has made a meaningful impact on countless lives. 
 



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