Johnson Announces $1.2M Grant to Aid Former Prisoners

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    Rep. Hank Johnson announced last week that Standing to Achieve New Directions is receiving a $1.2 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to provide behavioral health services for men released from prison.

    Charles Sperling, STAND’s founder and executive director, said the grant will go toward expanding their work to reintegrate former prisoners back into society.

    “Over a long period of time, Congressman Johnson and his office have been instrumental in the work we do and we look forward to continuing to work to together in service to our community,” Sperling said.

    STAND – based on Covington Highway – is one of the metro Atlanta’s leading community-based organizations focused on HIV, domestic violence, substance abuse intervention and comprehensive re-entry services for men.

    “STAND has a proven track record of helping former inmates turn their lives around,” said Rep. Johnson, a co-sponsor of the Second Chance Act and longtime advocate for criminal justice reform. “Encouraging people released from prison to be productive members of society not only strengthens our communities; it saves taxpayers billions of dollars. These grants are a testament to a commitment by local and state leaders to address the problem, and a bipartisan consensus at the federal level about the need for smart investments in effective re-entry programs.”

    The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) award is part of a national recidivism effort entitled Project Synergy. STAND will receive an annual grant of $430,000 for three years and will run until 2016.

    “This grant allows us to continue our now more than 14-year mission of helping former inmates in south DeKalb and throughout metro Atlanta become healthy, productive members of our communities,” Sperling said.

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