Maine DOC sees early success with transitional living residence
Designed to create an atmosphere for growth, the residence appears to be doing just that for those who call it home
By Sarah Sinning
BANGOR, Maine — As a regional correctional manager with the Maine Department of Corrections, Jodie Johnson knows a thing or two about the challenges facing justice-involved men following incarceration.
But, thanks to a program she's been overseeing since August, that journey back into the community is starting to get easier.
Designed to help offenders more meaningfully engage with rehabilitative services upon release, the Leading the Way Transitional Living Residence in Bangor is already showing signs of success. Currently, all six men who live at the residence are employed and/or completing intervention programming, all while engaging with the area's robust recovery network, MDOC explained in a statement.
While partnerships with community behavioral health providers and local employers certainly help, Johnson credits the stable home environment for keeping the men on track.
“This environment was the missing piece in our work with clients who need a normalized home environment in order to tackle what brought them into the justice system," she said.
Residents can stay rent free for up to six months, and Johnson says her team is working on building relationships with landlords and housing organizations across the state for when residents are ready to transition out of the program.
“Stable housing helps keep people out of the system,” she said.
In the meantime, residents can rely on the support of Johnson and her team.
“For many people, what we’re asking isn’t easy: learned skills like holding down a job, staying healthy, saving money, engaging appropriately with loved ones, and looking for long term housing," Johnson said. "But these things are doable, and staff is here to help the men get through this part of their lives. We want each client to succeed.”