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Network helping ex-inmates stay out of jail gets $750K grant

January 14, 2022 GMT

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — A Lewiston nonprofit that convenes resources to help people who have been in jail or prison to stay out has gotten a $750,000 federal grant.

The Maine Prisoner Reentry Network will use the funds from the U.S. Department of Justice to expand its work, the Bangor Daily News reported Friday.

The nonprofit brings together organizations focused on housing, jobs and social services to connect with people recently released, serving as a statewide resource network.

Bruce Noddin helped found the organization in 2017 when he realized that there was not being much done to help recently released inmates. Its small staff all have lived experience with the struggles of people leaving jail or prison, Noddin said.

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“I call it a living, breathing resource guide,” Noddin, whose son is in prison, said.

Commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections, Randall Liberty, praised the organization when he heard about the grant: “What Bruce Noddin and his team have accomplished on behalf of and with the justice-involved is remarkable,” he told the newspaper.

The grant represents 10 times the nonprofit’s annual budget until now, Noddin said, and it will use the funds to hire more staff and track the impact of its work. Noddin said they would also focus on collecting information about people who cycle through jails, a population about which less is known than those going through prisons.