BI Day Reporting Center Clients in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Help with Hurricane Sandy Cleanup
December 19, 2012
Contact: Monica Hook, BI Incorporated,
It was the storm of the year. Hurricane Sandy tore its way up the East Coast in early November, hitting New York City and towns along the shores of New York and New Jersey the hardest. In its wake, Sandy left behind mass destruction and disrupted hundreds of thousands of lives.
The cleanup and relief effort began quickly, with volunteers coming in from all over the country to help. On November 16, a group of four clients and three staff members from the Community Transitions Center (CTC), a BI-operated day reporting program in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., traveled to Staten Island to volunteer for a day. The center offers supervision, treatment and training for offenders who typically recidivate. Through group classes geared toward changing criminal thinking, daily check-ins, drug and alcohol testing and intensive case management, criminal behavior is addressed.
Community service is also part of the day reporting program. When Matt O’Connor, a client service specialist at the CTC, shared his experience during a group session about volunteering for the cleanup effort on an earlier weekend, the CTC clients all said “Let’s do it.”
Donning bright green sweatshirts with the CTC logo, the team started the day unloading and organizing emergency supplies at St. Mary Margaret Church, a distribution center where hurricane victims can pick up free supplies. Next, they were dispatched to a local home where they assisted the homeowner with ripping out water-damaged flooring and dry wall. “We were all shocked by the damage when we arrived,” says Tracy Stevens, BI program manager for the Community Transitions Center and a member of the volunteer team. “Our clients kept saying that it looked like a war zone and that they’d never seen anything like it.”
For CTC client Dionte Latham, it was an eye-opening experience. “I’ve never seen Mother Nature do anything like this and it was a changing experience for me to see the damage in person: empty homes with sticky notes that told people to keep out, a car filled up with water over the seats,” says Latham. “I’m glad we could help because I would want people to help me if I was in the same situation.”
Jamees Cook, another CTC client, echoes that sentiment. “Yes, I would want someone to help me out if it happened to me,” she says. “It was so sad seeing peoples’ houses destroyed, but it was good we could help a local woman [Debbie] clean out the house she had grown up in.” Even after Cook hurt her eye from loose debris in the house, that didn’t stop her from working. “A doctor at a health truck gave me an antibiotic so that I could keep working. There was still a lot to do.”
Stevens reports that the experience was a special one for everyone. “We were there all working together, we weren’t staff and clients, and I was really impressed how compassionate our clients were,” Stevens says. “We worked really hard and our clients all said that they wanted to go back to help finish with the recovery effort. I was really proud to hear them say that because it showed great initiative.” All of this is testament to a great team and a great program at the Community Transitions Center.
About BI Incorporated (www.bi.com)
Established in 1978, BI Incorporated is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The GEO Group (NYSE: GEO), a global leader in the delivery of correctional, detention, and residential treatment services to federal, state, and local government agencies. BI provides a full continuum of offender monitoring technologies and community reentry services for parolees, probationers, pretrial defendants and illegal aliens involved in the U.S. immigration court process. BI also owns and operates an ISO-certified national monitoring center, providing 24/7 expert support supervision services exclusively to governmental agencies. BI works closely with corrections officials to cost effectively reduce recidivism, promote public safety, and strengthen the communities they serve.