April is Second Chance Month, a national movement that’s meant to bring awareness to the stigma and barriers that people face when they get out of jail or prison. It also emphasizes the need to help people with criminal records become contributing members of society once again.
On Thursday in Cooperstown, state Sen. James Seward presented a New York State Senate Proclamation commemorating Second Chance Month to the executive director of Jail Ministry of Otsego County, which is an organization whose mission is to assist the inmates at Otsego County Jail and their families.
“As long as they're on a path to become a productive member of society we should be supporting them in any way possible,” Seward said. “It's for our collective good and it's in our best interest of all concerned.”
Seward says that everybody in the community has a stake in former inmates’ reintegration, and Second Chance Month is an opportunity to recognize and support those seeking to make an honest effort at a new life.
“Second Chance Month sends a positive message to inmates and the public alike,” said Ameen Aswad, executive director of Jail Ministry of Otsego County, in a news release. “We need to break down the barriers to reintegration that exist as individuals rejoin the community and fostering awareness is a key step. I applaud Senator Seward’s support and recognition of Second Chance Month.”
Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. and Otsego County Director of Community Services Susan Matt were also at Thursday’s presentation.