Nearly $800,000 in state and federal money will help fund criminal justice-related issues in Berks County, Pa. Rep. Tom Caltagirone announced Wednesday.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will administer the money through several programs, including those for gang prevention, victims' services, drug and alcohol treatment programs and rehabilitation programs for non-violent offenders, said Caltagirone, a member of the commission's board.
"These are real dollars that will go to real people as targeted investments," said Caltagirone, who also serves as the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. "This funding really narrows in on how to better the quality of life for those who need help the most."
The Olivet Boys & Girls Club of Reading and Berks County will receive a $185,299 justice assistance grant to implement the Gang Prevention Through Targeted Outreach program in Reading, said Caltagirone, noting that the program targets youth between the ages of 10 and 15 who may be identified as vulnerable to gangs.
"The club does a great job at connecting at-risk youth with adult mentors and a safe environment to help combat gang involvement," Caltagirone said. "The younger we can reach these children, the better."
The Project SUCCESS: I-Lead Charter School expansion will receive $81,990 in state funding. The I-Lead Charter School, which opened in 2011, serves students who have dropped out of school or are at risk of dropping out.
Project SUCCESS (Schools Using Coordinated Community Efforts to Strengthen Students) includes a parent empowerment series, an in-school prevention series and individual sessions for at-risk students, Caltagirone said.
"The expansion will allow hundreds of students and their families to receive the benefits of this program," said Caltagirone. "Staying in school and graduating is a cornerstone of leading a productive life in years to come."
The Community Prevention Partnership of Berks County will receive $138,559 in state funding to implement the Celebrating Veterans' Families project, which is designed to serve veterans and their family members who may have a higher risk of having substance abuse issues, domestic violence issues, or child abuse or neglect issues.
The Berks Counseling Center will receive $250,000 in federal funding over a two-year period to support the Forensic Re-entry Housing with Supportive Services initiative. The funding will be used to treat non-violent offenders who are re-entering the community through behavioral health treatment and supportive services, Caltagirone said.
Berks County will receive $108,102 in funding through the Victim of Crime Act during the 2013-15 funding cycle.