How We Got Started
In June of 2017, 5 people gathered together at the Catholic Charities office in Auburn, Maine to discuss how they might support citizens returning to the community after incarceration. Word that this discussion was happening spread, and within months, dozens of people from all over the state—people from non-profits, the corrections system, social service agencies, faith based organizations, law enforcement, recovery services, formerly incarcerated, and more—began attending and contributing to these monthly meetings.
Maine Prisoner Re-Entry Network’s first meeting in Auburn had 5 people, the next had 20+, and the meetings just kept growing as word spread that this first-of-its-kind thing was happening in Central Maine. It became apparent that there are numerous organizations(silos) doing amazing work assisting returning citizens, but most did not know each other, or how their work fit into the bigger picture of coordinated re-entry services.
Rather than continue to have people from as far away as Sanford and Bangor —continue to come to Auburn every month, MERN Founder, Bruce Noddin, decided to start holding meetings in other cities throughout Maine, so more people could learn about the resources, develop relationships, and create a team approach to re-entry in their community.
To date, the Maine Re-Entry Network (MERN) has conducted and continues to convene community re-entry meetings in Augusta, Auburn, Bangor, So. Portland, Westbrook, Rockland, Somerset County Jail, and Maine State Prison with more meetings planned for Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, York County, Aroostook County, Belfast, and Downeast.
The Maine Re-Entry Network (MERN) is made up of member community organizations, agencies, non-profits, prison ministries, Department of Corrections Representatives, County Jail Officers, employers, former inmates, and individuals directly or indirectly involved with prisoner re-entry
MERN creates and facilitates connections: connecting community organizations, connecting clients to services and supports, connecting the DOC with community orgs, connecting communities with other communities, connecting returning citizens with each other, connecting volunteers with opportunities, connecting family members of those who are incarcerated, connecting the community outside with the community inside of our prisons and jails. Blurring the lines between “inside” and “outside”, resulting in one collaborative community.
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Get In Touch
P.O. Box 7157
Lewiston, ME 04240