BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thanks to the Job Opportunities Task Force (JOFT), and their partners at Out for Justice, several Black dads, who were previously incarcerated, will be spending Father’s Day at home.
The 2nd Annual Juneteenth/Father’s Day Weekend Bailout secured the release of several men who were incarcerated, awaiting trial, because of their unaffordable cash bail.READ MORE: Twin Water Main Breaks Forces More Than A Dozen West Baltimore Resident From Homes
“It’s important to know that Black fathers are crucial in the black family.” said Nicole Hanson Mundell, the Executive Director of Out for Justice, “We want to do everything we can to bridge that gap and connect fathers back with their families, back with their communities.”
It doesn’t stop at posting bail, Out for Justice and JOFT will continue working with the men moving forward.
“We’re going to stick with these men, we’re going to provide wrap-around support, mental health support, trade skill support and ensure they have a successful reentry,” explained Hanson Mundell.
It’s a model that has a proven track record. After being locked up for 7 years, Jeremy Bernert credits the program with turning his life around after his release.
“It’s unbelievable how much help JOTF has provided me.,” said Bernert, “As you see I’m still standing here in front of you, alongside JOTF. It’s help that never goes away.”READ MORE: 19-Year-Old Woman Charged After Allegedly Abandoning Newborn Baby In Glen Burnie
Bernet says he now has a high-paying job, a car and is the process of buying a house with his girlfriend. He will be working with the newly released men to show them what is possible.
Mayor Brandon Scott says Bernet is a testament to the importance of the work JOTF is doing.
“This is why it’s important, the work that JOTF does, and has been doing for 25 years, helping to connect people to services so we can prevent people from going back into the system,” said Mayor Scott.
It starts with an investment that gives these men a chance to spend Father’s Day with their families
“When you invest in people, the return is indefinite,” said Hanson Mundell.MORE NEWS: Aunt Charged In Death Of 2 Children Whose Bodies Were Found During Essex Traffic Stop
The bail money used by JOTF came from donors.