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Peaceprints of WNY, Catholic Charities of Buffalo and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Launch Collaborative Local Reentry Pilot Initiative

by Kaitlin Jackson

Fri, Oct 25th 2019 11:00 am

Dennis C. Walczyk, Catholic Charities president and CEO, speaks during the Oct. 25 press conference announcing the Project Blue initiative.

Peaceprints of WNY was recently awarded a $1,000,000 grant by the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs Second Chance Act to implement Project Blue, a comprehensive reentry program for those returning from our local jail. Project Blue will provide intensive case management services for individuals being released from Erie County Jail and Holding Center. The program includes pre- and post-release services, evidenced based programming such as Ready, Set, Work! wraparound services, mentoring, housing coordination, comprehensive educational and employment services and access to healthcare services.

“Project Blue is a preventative pilot program designed to reduce recidivism and local crime rates as well as to stunt the jail to prison pipeline by way of identifying specific needs not currently being met through community supports,” said Cindi McEachon, Peaceprints of WNY Executive Director. “We are thrilled to collaborate with Catholic Charities of Buffalo and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office on bringing this innovative pre-and-post release project model to our community.”

Dennis C. Walczyk, Catholic Charities president and CEO; Pastor James Giles, Back to Basics Outreach Ministries president and CEO; Cindi McEachon, Peaceprints of WNY executive director; Thomas Diina, Erie County Sheriff’s Office superintendent; and Ryan Caster, Peaceprints of WNY board chair; are joined by two of the first 21 participants in the program

Catholic Charities of Buffalo will provide many of Project Blue’s reentry services through its Workforce & Education Services’ new CORE (Creating Opportunities and Restoring Equity) program. CORE is a comprehensive workforce development program for justice involved individuals looking to find employment, further their education, or gain vocational training. Work readiness, transitional work, job placement and retention, and case management will all be included in CORE’s services. Peaceprints will also connect program participants with Catholic Charities’ counseling and substance abuse services as needed.

“We couldn’t be more grateful or more prepared to be a key partner in Project Blue with Peaceprints of WNY and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office,” said Dennis C. Walczyk, Catholic Charities of Buffalo President and Chief Executive Officer. “For the sake of these individuals whose lives together we can so positively impact, for the multiple benefits to them, their families, their neighborhoods and our entire community – this pre-release and reentry program is a big step in the right direction to effecting poverty and social justice equity. Project Blue’s collaborative structure means the right groups are in place to make the greatest difference for this underserved population – and all of us.”

Dennis C. Walczyk, Catholic Charities president and CEO; Pastor James Giles, Back to Basics Outreach Ministries president and CEO; Jeffrey Conrad, Catholic Charities Workforce and Education director; and Diane Young, Catholic Charities CORE social worker.

Together, Project Blue, CORE and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office will coordinate services to offer one of the most comprehensive partnerships to assist individuals returning home from local incarceration in Western New York.

“I want to commend Cindi McEachon, Executive Director of Peaceprints of WNY, and her team for their efforts to secure Federal Second Chance Act Funds. I also wish to say how pleased I am that my office was able to play a key role in the awarding of the grant, and I stand fully committed to making this innovative approach a success.  I have already committed personnel and resources to allow for a smooth launch of the program in the jails and foresee a long and great partnership with Cindi, Peaceprints of WNY, and Catholic Charities of Buffalo,” stated Erie County Sherriff Timothy B. Howard.

For more information, call (716) 856-6131 or visit: