Hennepin County Board Approves New Corrections Program

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The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners has approved funding for a new program that will target 25 multi-generational families that keep surfacing again and again in the county corrections system, generating considerable social services and corrections costs.

The new program – Families in Dysfunctional Systems (FinDS) targets north Minneapolis, 25 families who currently have a child in the juvenile justice system and at least one other family member involved in the corrections system. The voluntary program will investigate how these targeted families make decisions about crises and how they respond to multiple services they use to meet their needs. The program also will provide adult coaches for families from the community, including the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches, Amicus, and Hennepin County’s NorthPoint Health Center. Coaches will develop a sustained relationship and offer support, guidance, advocacy, planning and other assistance, to try to move the family from continual crisis to more stability.

“We know there are certain families that keep coming back,” said Fred LaFleur, Community Corrections Director. “There is a strong correlation between poverty and crime. Recently, corrections has become the preferred sanction for dealing with people who are poor, mentally ill or developmentally disabled. We see generational criminal families that suffer from a chain reaction of poverty, illness and criminal behavior that is repeated by their children. The use of criminal sanctions as a default public policy reflects how other efforts have failed and comes at great cost. We hope this program will help us find better solutions.

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