LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – While the Capital City continues to struggle with an increase in crime, a neighbor to the north is hoping to be an example by partnering with a Central Arkansas nonprofit.
Restore Hope and the White County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) are teaming up in their search for solutions.
“We have people coming in and out all the time,” says Phillip Miller, WCSO Chief Deputy, of the county’s jail population.
He’s seen a lot in his two decades in law enforcement.
“We’re wanting to do something different about that. We are wanting to see the numbers quit rising in our jail, and start going the other way,” he explains. “Any profession, especially when you’ve been doing it awhile, your mindset is ‘we are going to do this, because we’ve done this, because we will do this’, instead of we get this question of ‘what about this,’ ‘why can’t we do a GED program in the jail’, and you go ‘hey, why not’.”
The partnership between the WCSO and Restore Hope is finding some answers, from GED programs to transportation.
“We can reduce incarceration, we can do better, we can get resource to the people who need it, and we can use taxpayer dollars in more effective ways than we currently are doing,” says Paul Chapman, Executive Director of Restore Hope.
He’s leading the governor’s charge to bridge a gap from services to communities. Restore Hope does this by bringing like-minded people together.
“We’ve brought information that is in our state institutions to that group, so that they can really get situational awareness, really understand what’s going on, and they can talk together about how they want to respond,” Chapman continues.
Joining this group is a professor at Harding University.
“That’s part of the solution is getting people invested and getting them around the table willing to have conversations about the problems facing the community,” says Heath Carpenter.
Restore Hope also has an office in Fort Smith. The goal is to have 12 offices around the state soon.
In addition to providing resources that help people who are getting out of jail, Restore Hope is also helping foster kids in Arkansas.
Click here to learn more about Restore Hope.