Posts Tagged: Community Reentry Readiness

Teaching the Basics of Financial Literacy at Moakley Courthouse

Judge Leo Sorokin and  Volunteer Adrienne Walker (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.) spoke with participants about financial literacy through the BBA Reentry Education Program.

Judge Leo Sorokin and Volunteer Adrienne Walker (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.) spoke with participants about financial literacy through the BBA Reentry Education Program.

A dozen eager participants joined BBA volunteer and experienced bankruptcy Attorney Adrienne Walker (Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC) at the Moakley courthouse for this month’s Reentry Education Program session on Financial Literacy. With the help of BBA Reentry Education Committee member Brendan T. St. Amant (Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar, LLP), Adrienne tackled the topic of credit. Throughout the session, Adrienne shared some tips with attendees about how they can become better informed consumers when choosing a bank or credit card by doing in depth research before opening up a credit account.

Beyond The Billable got in touch with Adrienne to learn why she thinks this session is particularly relevant to the participants. Here’s what she had to say:

“Learning about credit and the tools needed to build a strong credit history are vitally important to regain independence and financial security.  The participants in the BBA Reentry Education Program that attended the Financial Literacy class recognized this need and were incredibly engaged and eager to learn and apply the class tools towards their own fresh start.”

To further encourage probationers to make a successful fresh start, Judge Leo Sorokin (U. S. District Court, District of Massachusetts) stopped by to emphasize the importance of taking advantage of community programs like CARE and the BBA Reentry Education Program  to help make the reentry process go more smoothly.

Keep a look out for updates about next month’s session on Driver’s Licenses.

Reentry Program Teaches Landlord Tenant Law 101

Attorney Chris Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi) walked attendees through the basics of landlord tenant law during this month's BBA Reentry Education Program workshop at Moakley Courthouse

Attorney Chris Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi) walked attendees through the basics of landlord tenant law during this month’s BBA Reentry Education Program workshop at Moakley Courthouse

Courtroom 16 at the Moakley Courthouse was packed last Wednesday for the monthly civil legal workshop through the BBA Reentry Education Program. This month’s session—on landlord and tenant law—drew a large and engaged crowd. During the session, Attorney Chris Saccardi (The Law Office of Christopher T. Saccardi) walked participants through their rights and responsibilities as either a landlord or tenant.

Beyond the Billable reached out to him to learn more. Here’s why he thinks this topic was particularly important for the attendees:

“Most people in and around Boston are either landlords or tenants at some point in their lives. Many of the people in Wednesday’s audience indicated that they were currently homeless, and it is likely that their next step would be finding an apartment to rent. During that process, it is important for them to understand their rights as potential tenants so as to ensure that their security deposits are properly handled, their apartments are safe and sanitary, and that they know what to do should they experience a discriminatory landlord. Individuals who are struggling to reenter society after sometimes lengthy prison sentences tend to be less educated and have lower incomes than the general population – this is the sort of population that could be taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords. Knowing their rights as tenants in Massachusetts will hopefully be a small step toward leveling that playing field.”

Community Reentry Readiness Program Talks Public Benefits

Attorneys Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) presented on public benefits to participants in the Community Reentry Readiness Program.

Attorneys Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) presented on public benefits to participants in the Community Reentry Readiness Program.

Yesterday, BBA volunteers and public benefits experts Ellen Shachter (Greater Boston Legal Services) and Julie McCormick (Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School) stopped over at the Moakley courthouse for the first Community Reentry Readiness session of the New Year. As you know, volunteer attorneys are able provide probationers with legal advice to support their reentry process. This session’s topic, public benefits, proved to be a valuable subject matter to the probationers in attendance.

In an intimate roundtable discussion, the volunteers were able to address individual questions and debunk some common myths about public health and housing benefits. Ellen and Julie gave probationers tips on how to manage and negotiate the system to help them receive the max amount of benefits that they are entitled.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Ellen to learn more about the session. Here’s why she thinks this session is particularly relevant to the participants:

“As individuals transition from incarceration into the community it is critical that they are provided with the skills and information necessary to successfully obtain critical benefits such as health insurance coverage and food stamps.  The BBA’s benefits workshop provided just such information to those reentering the community both through direct oral presentation and in written materials.  The benefits workshop also provided a safe forum for participants to ask questions and raise concerns about their own experiences in attempting to navigate complicated benefit program requirements.”

Stay tuned for next month’s session on housing.

Volunteers Return to Moakley Courthouse for Family Law Session

Attorneys Raquel Webster (National Grid USA) and Brian McLaughlin (Brian McLaughlin Esq. LLC) presented on family law issues to participants in the Federal District Court's CARE/RESTART Program.

Attorneys Raquel Webster (National Grid USA) and Brian McLaughlin (Brian McLaughlin Esq. LLC) presented on family law issues to participants in the Federal District Court’s CARE/RESTART Program.

Image this: you’re a probationer and you’ll soon be given a chance to make a new start. You want to make the best of that opportunity, but you have questions. Can I get my license back? Can I see my children? What are my options for learning a new trade? Wouldn’t it be a relief if there was someone who could help you get started? Fortunately, there is.

The Community Reentry Readiness Program is officially underway once again. This month, Community Reentry Readiness Committee Member Raquel Webster (National Grid USA) returned to Moakley Courthouse with family law expert Brian McLaughlin (Brian McLaughlin Esq. LLC) to talk to the probationers about child support, paternity, and child custody issues.

Beyond the Billable reached out to Brian to hear more about his experience volunteering with the program. Here’s what he had to say:

“It is a privilege and an honor to present alongside Attorney Raquel Webster.  Through Attorney Webster’s efforts and with help from the Public Interest Leadership Program’s members, former inmates will have a greater chance of success, thereby decreasing the recidivism rate.  Information equals power. The new skills that these newly freed individuals learn through this course will give them a leg up in the outside world.  It is days like this, that I’m proud to call myself a lawyer and a member of Boston’s legal community.”

Stay tuned for more on next month’s public benefits session.

The BBA Is Back At It – Kicking Off Year 2 of the Community Reentry Readiness Program

Pauline Quirion (GBLS) met with federal probationers enrolled in the CARE/RESTART Program to discuss sealing their CORIs through the BBA Community Reentry Readiness Program.

Pauline Quirion (GBLS) met with federal probationers taking part in the CARE/RESTART Program to discuss sealing their CORIs through the BBA Community Reentry Readiness Program.

The BBA officially kicked off the start of the Community Reentry Readiness Program last Wednesday with a session on sealing CORIs at the Federal District Court. You may remember the success of PILP 9’s Community Reentry Readiness Pilot Program.  If not, here’s the deal.  Through the Community Reentry Readiness Program, volunteer attorneys deliver civil legal education workshops to federal probations in the CARE/RESTART Program on issues that they may face upon reentry to reduce the risk of recidivism.  The pilot program was such a success that the BBA and Federal Court once again teamed up to continue the program.

Last Wednesday, Pauline Quirion (Greater Boston Legal Services) met with the group of probationers to discuss CORI sealing. Each month, volunteers will meet with the probationers to discuss topics, including housing, employment, family law, and others. Stay tuned for more.

Examining the Impact – PILP Meets with Probationers to Reflect on Community Reentry Program

PILP gathers feedback from CARE and RESTART participants at Moakley Courthouse on Wednesday night.

PILP gathers feedback from CARE and RESTART participants at Moakley Courthouse on Wednesday night.

Last night, the BBA’s Public Interest Leaders hosted a candid feedback session at the US District Court  to learn how the pilot Community Reentry Readiness series has been received by the CARE and RESTART program participants.  The pilot program utilized the expertise of the BBA and its Public Interest Leaders to benefit an underserved population and the courts. Beginning in March, these PILPers hosted a series of 7 seminars covering topics intended to arm the probationers with skills to improve their chances of long term success:

  • Driver’s Licenses/Professional Licenses
  • Employment
  • Credit Reports and Credit Scores
  • Housing
  • Family Law
  • Benefits Available to Low-Income Individuals in Massachusetts

PILPers Julia Devanthéry, Chris Saccardi, Eric Haskell and Emily Hodge sat down with the participants over a pizza dinner to give them the opportunity to speak openly their ability to apply the information gained from these sessions to their daily lives and asked for tips on how the program can be improved. Attendees were provided with a written questionnaire for anonymous written comments as well.

Beyond the Billable congratulates PILP 9 for a job well done and encourages readers to stay tuned for more updates on this initiative. Contact Susan Helm at [email protected] with questions on PILP.