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Former code office may become reentry hub for released prisoners

OBSERVER Photo by Gregory Bacon The Mayville Village Board has agreed to house a re-entry program at the Community Center for those released from jail. The Chautauqua County Legislature still needs to give final approval.

MAYVILLE – Sheriff Jim Quattrone would like to have a location in the downtown area where newly released prisoners who need assistance can go once they leave the jail. It looks like a spot has been located.

During this week’s Mayville Village Board meeting, officials approved a resolution for the Sheriff’s Department to use space located in the Mayville Community Building for the proposed CARES program for past inmates at the jail being released and awaiting or arranging transportation home.

According to Mayor Richard Syper, the program would go in the village’s now-vacant code office.

Mayville has contracted with the town of Chautauqua for its code enforcement, so the office is currently vacant. It has its own entrance.

The resolution was unanimously approved by village leaders. County Legislator Marty Proctor, R-Mina, was in attendance. He said the county legislature must still give its approval. He did not anticipate any issues and said he personally supports this move.

Sheriff Jim Quattrone was out of town during Tuesday’s board meeting but said in a follow up that he is hoping to start the program March 1. “We have many pieces of CARES in place now so we’re hoping it goes smooth and has the impact we anticipate,” he said.

Quattrone was in attendance at the December village board meeting, where he first proposed the re-entry hub.

He noted that sometimes prisoners are released at midnight because that’s when they can legally exit and many don’t want to stay in jail any longer. If they decline a ride from a police vehicle and don’t have a ride, they can end up wandering the village.

Even those released during business hours can often be found wandering the village, stopping in various stores with their plastic bag of clothes and belongings.

Quattrone had originally proposed renting 28 S. Erie St., a vacant storefront building in the village. Local residents opposed the location, saying they were concerned that former prisoners who are seen going in and out of a downtown business building would hurt neighboring businesses.

The Mayville Community Building is located at 1 S. Erie St., less than a block from the jail. Quattrone said in December it was important for him to find a location close to the jail, saying if it was too far, released prisoners would be more likely to stop in local businesses seeking assistance than the hub.

Residents have complained for years that released prisoners can be seen wandering around the village, asking to get their checks cashed, their cell phones charged or cash handouts. Others have been arrested for committing crimes in the village.

Some of the services the community hub would possibly offer include:

– A place to wait for transportation to their community of preference;

– A place to collect a CHQ Pass and wait for CHQ Transit;

– A place to charge their phones and make telephone calls;

– Work with re-entry specialist to review discharge plan or to create a re-entry plan;

– Staff can assist in reviewing of needs for photo identification and other basic needs;

– Assistance with Department of Social Services applications;

– Obtain lists of food pantries and other services that will assist in successful re-entry;

– Education on overdose prevention and the particular dangers for those leaving jail;

– Communication/video conferencing with NY Matters which is critical for many leaving jail;

– Clothes closet for returning to community, including appropriate clothing and coats;

– Connect individuals with housing: shelters, warming centers, respite housing, temporary/emergency housing;

– Gather information from individuals for follow up;

– A source of information regarding various services: Behavioral health clinics, warming centers/shelters, Chautauqua Works, Mental Health Association, etc. Connection with peer support when appropriate.

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