Special to the Journal
Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger initiated a STAR program (Supporting Transition and Re-Entry) to help individuals who are confronted with personal challenges. These individuals faced barriers. “Entering STAR, these participants learn new skills, improve meaningful relationships, and take steps toward a positive life change,” STAR Director of Programs Stacie Bloxham said.
“STAR is a program based upon reentering society. Basically, it starts on day one. When an individual arrives at our facility, they begin a correctional process.”, said Essex County Sheriff Coppinger.
The STAR staff does an entire assessment beginning with why they are here, how to help them, and to know their background. “When these individuals eventually leave the program and return to the community, our purpose is to have them in better shape than when they arrived,” expressed Sheriff Coppinger.
State Representative Peter Capano opened by saying, “How do we make things better? This is a partnership with Police Departments, with yourself, and with all the institutions working together in the community. This is what can be achieved. When city institutions and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts come together, these are the things that can happen.”
State Rep Capano further addressed comments to the graduates, “This is a new beginning. You have the determination, willingness, and vision to get something done. You have proved to yourself that you can do it. This will give you hope in the future to go forward.”
This was the inaugural Essex County STAR graduation ceremony for nine participants at the Lynn Police Station. The program provides education, career training, and treatable resources. Also recognized by STAR Assistant Superintendent, Jessica Oljey, was the Lynn Police Department’s Bicycle Unit for referring 43 candidates to the program.