Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the creation of Healing Communities of Georgia, a network that will be comprised of diverse congregations from all faiths working collectively to make their communities safer and reduce recidivism. Healing Communities will be led by the Governor's Office of Transition, Support and Re-entry, which the governor created by executive order last year to improve the success rates of former inmates who are returning to their communities after serving their terms. The Governor's Interfaith Council, which was created by the governor in April of this year to expand upon the state's criminal justice reform efforts, will play a vital role in developing and growing the coalition of Healing Communities.
"Healing Communities is yet another example of how corrections and faith-based institutions can work toward common outcomes -- protecting our citizens and our economy," Deal said. "Congregations can provide invaluable perspective and experience on challenges to re-entry in their local communities. I am confident that if we work as a team and open up lines of communication, we will increase the number of rehabilitated offenders returning to the workforce and supporting their families."
Congregations that take part in Healing Communities are known as Stations of Hope and actively engage principles of accountability and restoration of relationships within their worshipping communities. These Stations of Hope provide opportunities to learn and implement the model through introductions to best practices, ongoing educational opportunities and engagement in policy discussions -- all geared to strengthen their capability to work with returning prisoners and help them become productive members of society.