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New Baltimore City District Court Re-Entry Project
Helps Ex-Offenders Find Jobs

Ray Lewis to Serve as Keynote Speaker at First Graduation Ceremony

(BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – March 6, 2017) — Baltimore City District Judge Nicole Pastore-Klein will preside over the first graduation ceremony to celebrate ex-offenders who have been connected with employment through the District Court Re-Entry Project (DCREP), on March 9, at 12:30 p.m., in the Hargrove District Courthouse, 700 East Patapsco Avenue, Baltimore.  Super Bowl XXXV Most Valuable Player and future NFL Hall of Famer Ray Lewis will serve as the keynote speaker for the event.

“Baltimore is my home, and I wanted to help find a way for the court to help men and women who are rehabilitating their lives and who have successfully taken this step in completing the District Court’s Re-Entry Project,” said Judge Pastore-Klein.  “As a judge, I was in a unique position to refer willing defendants to work skills training programs straight from the courtroom and monitor their progress.  We have more than 50 people already enrolled by judges throughout the city.” 

While presiding over criminal court, judges see firsthand how ex-offenders in Baltimore can struggle to find employment.  After conducting extensive research over the course of several months, Judge Pastore-Klein began engaging existing programs in Baltimore, and in September 2016, Judge Pastore-Klein introduced the DCREP to the full Baltimore City District Court bench. 

“My passion and my hope is to create opportunities for the people of the city I love,” said Ray Lewis.  “Economic empowerment is the key to rising above a life of struggle and crime.  I’m excited to be a part of this event to honor the graduates of the program.” 

How the District Court Re-Entry Project Works
Judges refer defendants to one of the 13 organizations that currently participate in the DCREP program.  All of these organizations focus on preparing ex-offenders for the workforce and include job placement assistance.  The training periods range from two weeks to one year and prepare candidates for jobs in a variety of fields, including renewable energy installation, automotive repair, construction, catering, and maritime transportation.

The DCREP offers willing criminal case defendants a chance to participate in job training as a condition of probation.  A judge refers the participating defendant to a suitable job training organization, and if the defendant successfully completes the organization’s requirements, the defendant receives an agreed-upon incentive.  For example, a judge may convert a supervised probation to an unsupervised probation, or even end the defendant’s probation early, according to the initial agreement.  In addition, defendants who may have been sentenced to a minimal amount of jail time may have the chance to participate in this program in lieu of jail time. 

“By providing ex-offenders with job training and placement, the DCREP reduces recidivism and helps these individuals become productive members of society,” Judge Pastore-Klein said. 

For more information, please contact Judge Nicole Pastore-Klein at 410-878-8923 or Nicole.pastore.klein@mdcourts.gov.

 

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