Forum seeks to break the cycle of incarceration

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With the recent rise in crime, there is more talk about focusing on the root of the problem.

That's why one organization is targeting men--particularly fathers, through a series of forums and boot camps.

The Indiana Healthy Marriage and Family Coalition has invested a lot of time and resources in research that tells them that if we want to empower our communities, we have to empower our fathers who can in turn empower their children and families. It echoes what the top brass in local law enforcement have been saying-- other words, it starts at home. That's the point of a Fatherhood Forum tonight called, 'Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration'.

Focusing on family law, job readiness and breaking the cycle of incarceration are all key factors in sparking more positive living and reducing crime. If a person is coming out of the corrections system, he's often in need of basic things--a job, drivers license, an understanding of technology like computers and smartphones. The coalition says that's priority one to keeping them from returning to criminal behaviors.

"We need to get beyond how someone got where they are," said John Girton, executive director of IN Healthy Marriage and Family Coalition. "We need to deal with the fact that if they're hopeless, they're going to personify that hopeless on the next person. If they don't care about themselves, they're not going to care about anyone else.

Girton said we have to begin to plant the seeds of hope in people if we want to reap the benefits of hope in our community.

"We also partner with some of the more progressive organizations in community like library that offer GED classes that can help these men and women get back on track, stay on track, empower them and let them know that when they do have questions, there is a place to go, there is someone who is willing to talk to them," Girton said. "There is someone that's not afraid of them and afraid of their past."

Tonight's Fatherhood Forum titled 'Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration' is from 6-8 p.m. at the E. 38th St. Branch Library. There is also a Baby Boot Camp for New Dads from 6-7 p.m. tonight at Babies R Us at the Castleton location.

The local library system also sponsors GED classes, another key factor in giving fathers that leg up to move forward and succeed.