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Local religious leaders participate in criminal reform initiative

Gov. Nathan Deal appoints two local leaders to participate in a criminal reform initiative.
MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Georgia Governor Nathan Deal is calling on church leaders to help the state keep criminal offenders from returning to the jail cell.

Deal announced, the Interfaith Council will bring Georgia religious leaders together to create a new criminal justice reform initiative.

The goal is to help inmates learn job skills while theyre serving time in jail or prison, so theyre able to land meaningful careers once theyre sentence is complete.

Local leaders, Pastor Tony Lowden and Rabbi Larry Schlesinger, were selected by Deal to be on the council.

Lowden and Schlesinger believe it takes an entire community of people to help inmates get back on their feet after serving jail time.

"When we talk about the social safety net, the faith-based organizations have always done a great job of filling the social safety net,” Lowden says, “The government has never done a great job of doing that, so the churches have a great opportunity to fill in the needs of were there's a gap."

Schlesinger and Lowden will join 12 other Georgia church leaders to create educational programming courses for inmates.

"It's very difficult to get a job, and a meaningful job at that. Unfortunately, people find themselves unemployed, desperate, they make mistakes and the next thing they know they find themselves back in prison again,” Schlesinger believes, “We got to break that cycle."

Both men believe this initiative is a great way to bring the community together, instead of condemning men and women for getting in trouble with the law.

Click here for more information on the Interfaith Council.
 
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