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July 16, 2024

Bolivar County Library System

New resources for the formerly incarcerated

The Bolivar County Library System (BCLS) has announced their partnership with the Mississippi Library Commission in the Moving Forward Project that provides resources for the formerly incarcerated.

The Moving Forward Project is the brainchild of Shellie  Ziegler,  a consultant with the Mississippi Library Commission, who recognized that the formerly incarcerated face many obstacles to successfully transition from imprisonment and/or halfway houses to rejoining society and their communities. Barriers to success include being stigmatized, inability to find stable housing that often results in homelessness, limited educational attainment, inability to compete fairly in the job market, and loss of the support of family and friends. Using projects from other states for inspiration, Ziegler created the Moving Forward Project with the goal of providing resources for the formerly incarcerated so that they may overcome these obstacles and more successfully reenter society. It is also hoped that the project will also lower the recidivism rate in Mississippi, which is currently 33 %.

The cornerstone of the project is the Mississippi Reentry Guide for resources available in our community, the state, and at the federal level for the formerly incarcerated and their families. The directory is intended for not only ex-offenders, but also family members and friends of ex-offenders, state and local agencies serving ex-offenders, human service providers such as social workers and counselors, nonprofit organizations, law enforcement, parole officers, state and national policy makers, researchers, and anyone interested in advocating for, serving or learning about re-entry in Mississippi. Additionally, Ziegler selected eighteen books that cover a variety of topics that are available for check-out at the Robinson-Carpenter Memorial Library or from any BCLS branch through inter-library loan.

For more information about the Moving Forward Project, how to access the Mississippi Reentry Guide, and for a list of all the resources that are available for check-out, go the BCLS website at <https://bolivar.lib.ms.us/>. If you have further questions, please contact Reference Services Librarian Tamara Blackwell at (662) 843-2774 x104.