Essex County Sheriff’s Program Graduates Nine from Program Aimed at Keeping People Out of Jail

Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger, left, and state Rep. Peter Capano of Lynn, right, with STAR Participants Candace Belmer and Tedje Menard. (Courtesy photograph.)

The Essex County Sheriff’s Department recently graduated its first group of nine from its new community-based program Supporting Transitions and Reentry—known as STAR—Program.

The graduates were in need of services to keep them out of jail and on a path to successful citizenship. Each were assigned a STAR navigator that developed an individualized plan for services and connections to community resources that helped them get the treatment, counseling, educational services, workforce training and other supports they required.

“This is just the start for these men and women who came to the STAR program looking for a chance. They put their trust in our navigators, they put in the hard work, and now they have hope for a better life,” said Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger. “It doesn’t matter how they got to our program. It matters that they are here, continuing to do the work, and ready for a change.”

The STAR program has offices in Lynn and Lawrence, which offer classes, group therapy, drug testing and a safe space to meet with community partners. STAR’s goal is to keep people out of jail by keeping them connected to community programs and services. This group of nine received help with achieving their high school equivalency degree, housing, substance use treatment, workforce training and more. Two of the participants completed STAR’s Tech Goes Home course and received a free Chromebook and a year of free internet access.

Coppinger credited Northern Essex Community College and Spectrum Health Systems for their partnerships in the program.

Those interested in learning more about STAR may email Director Stacie Bloxham at [email protected].

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