July 8, 2020
For Immediate Release
Mayor Johnson announces re-entry taskforce
SAVANNAH, GA (July 8, 2020) — Today, Mayor Van R. Johnson, II, announced the formation of a re-entry taskforce to help formerly incarcerated individuals or those with a criminal history assimilate into Savannah upon their release.
"The ability of our City to be successful into the future and to continue to fire on all cylinders depends on those who are formerly incarcerated to be re-engaged and successful upon returning home," Mayor Johnson said.
The taskforce is called Advocates for Restorative Communities in Savannah (ARCS).
ARCS brings together experts, including formerly incarcerated people, who work with justice-involved individuals in our community. Their collective knowledge will help guide the committee’s priorities to best serve those with a criminal history when they return home to Savannah.
"We will work collectively to suggest legislation and policy changes at the state and local levels," Mayor Johnson said. "We will seek grant funding for various opportunities, work to eliminate barriers, offer substance abuse and mental health services. We will train these citizens and teach them job skills. Then, we will find willing partners to create employment and housing opportunities to help our returning citizens be successful. As Mayor of this City, I am blessed to have this opportunity to unite with these re-entry superheroes."
The members of ARCS are Mayor Van Johnson, Katina Wheeler, Frederic Green, Timeka Johnson, Maxine Bryant, Charlotte Garnes, Andrea Blackshear, Alicia Johnson, District Attorney Meg Daly Heap, Sharon Smith, Eugene Priester, III, Eric Mason, Nancy DeVetter, Rev. Thurmond Tillman, Erik Beard, Wright White, Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter, Jennifer Wilson, and Leon Brown.
"Now more than ever, we need critical support for programs addressing the steep challenges facing people coming out of the system and restarting their lives," said Katina Wheeler, director of Dismas Charities Savannah and chair of the ARCS taskforce. "Their success will, in return, reduce recidivism and increase public safety. ARCS will offer positive support, focus on individualized needs and address those needs accordingly."