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Community Release Center

St. Louis Community Release Center (Release Center) at 1621 North First Street, St. Louis, MO 63102 in the Near North Riverfront neighborhood, operated by the Missouri Department of Corrections, is a facility that releases up to 450 people who are serving the remainder of their sentences on parole without a home plan into the surrounding community on a daily basis with little to no supervision. This facility is within walking distance to the neighborhoods of Downtown, Downtown West, Columbus Square, Carr Square, St. Louis Place and Old North. The Release Center is the source of many serious problems, and it degrades the livability and economic vitality of the surrounding area.

Out of the 115 counties in the State of Missouri, the Department of Corrections operates only one facility to handle 100% of the state’s individuals who were recently released from the State of Missouri’s penitentiary system and do not have a housing plan. This system disregards the origins of the people being released. For example, although a former inmate may have been raised and have family ties or other connections in Springfield, MO they are placed in the facility near Downtown St. Louis instead of near their natural support system.

The Release Center operates with a stated mission of creating opportunities for individuals staying at the facility to be self-sufficient and accountable. Furthermore, the ultimate goal of this center is to encourage reintegration with society upon release from the center. To that end, the Release Center has failed to live up to its mission. The Department of Corrections 2016 Budget Request states that 40% of individuals sent to this Release Center will successfully complete this program amongst whom there is a 25% recidivism rate. The remaining 60% of individuals who fail to complete the program have an 80% recidivism rate[1]. That equates to a total blended recidivism rate of individuals sent to the Release Center of 58% of all inmates sent to this facility. This number is particularly startling when compared to the overall Missouri Department Corrections recidivism rate of 45.5%[2].

We have sat down with people staying at the Release Center, and they report horrendous conditions. The two men we spoke with stated a complete lack of resources for people seeking assistance with job training and placement, substance use disorder and mental health treatment, and housing needs. They also reported rampant drug use and trafficking inside the facility and among the people staying there in the surrounding community.

In light of the evidence, our hope is that Governor Greitens reviews these serious problems and takes immediate action to completely reform the operations of the Release Center for the safety and well-being of the people staying in that facility and the surrounding communities that are negatively impacted by its current practices.

 

Note:   We recently signed onto a letter to Governor Greitens alongside other Downtown stakeholders organized by Downtown STL, Inc. You can view that letter here.

 

[1] 2016 Department of Correction Budget Request, Book 3 pgs. 103 – 111

[2] 2015 Missouri Reentry Process Report to the Governor pg. 1

Neighborhood Happy Hour at Red Kitchen

Join us for this month’s neighborhood happy hour at Red Kitchen & Bar inside of the Hyatt Regency at the Arch on Thursday, March 30 from 5:30-8pm. They will be providing special discounts for all DNA members and their guests.

These events are a great way to meet the people living and working in our neighborhood, and we hope to see you all there!

Click here to view the Facebook event page.

Town Hall Meeting

Mark your calendars for our next Town Hall Meeting on Monday, March 13 at 6pm in the Downtown Central Library auditorium.

Agenda:

  • neighborhood announcements
  • homeless services updates from the city
  • updates from elected officials
  • pro/con discussion of Proposition 1 & 2
  • safety updates and ideas
  • committee updates

The post-meeting social will be at Lucas Park Grille.

View the Facebook event page here.

Mayoral Candidate Forum

Join us for a discussion with candidates for Mayor in the St. Louis Public Library Auditorium co-hosted with Downtown STL, Inc.

Wednesday, March 1
Doors at 6pm
Forum from 6:30-8pm

The forum will be moderated by Ed Reggi and livestreamed on Facebook.

Attendees will be given an opportunity to write their questions of the candidates on a note card to be read by the moderator and directed to the candidates.

Candidates Confirmed to Attend:
Jeffrey Boyd
Antonio French
Bill Haas
Andrew Jones
Tishaura Jones
Lyda Krewson
Lewis Reed

Note: This forum is being hosted in an unbiased manner. DNA does not endorse candidates or parties for elected office. This forum is open to Democratic Party candidates and Republican Party candidates based on polling and their decision to participate.

5th Ward Alderman Candidate Forum

Join us for a discussion with the candidates for 5th Ward Alderman in the auditorium of St. Louis Public Library.

Audience members will be given an opportunity to ask the candidates questions about their vision for the 5th Ward and the City of St. Louis.

The forum will be moderated by The League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis.

Candidates Confirmed to Attend
Megan Betts
Robert Green
Reign Harris
Tammika Hubbard
Bob Ray

Click here to view the Facebook event page.

Note:  This forum is being hosted in an unbiased manner. DNA does not endorse parties or candidates for elected office.

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