Prison mentorship program looking for volunteers

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 8:15 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - In a little more than a week, new mentors begin training to aid and assist women involved in the justice system.

The Vermont Women’s Mentoring Program is a restorative reentry project at Mercy Connections.

With help from the Department of Corrections, the organization matches trained volunteer women with women who are in prison, under community supervision or in pretrial services.

State leaders say more than 50% of women released in Vermont return to jail for a new crime in their first year out.

“Often you burn a lot of bridges before you get to prison. A mentor is someone who helps you build a bridge to have at least one companion who’s healthy, who understands boundaries, who can meet you one on one and offer you a way to kind of leave behind what might have conspired to land you in jail in the first place,” said Joanne Nelson with Mercy Connections.

We’re told there are enough mentors for this fall training session, but the nonprofit is always looking for people to be added to the waitlist for this year and for next season.

Click here for more information.

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