READING – The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Criminal Justice Advisory Committee has granted Berks County more than $800,000 across six projects aimed to address drug court initiatives and projects to help victims of crime, State Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks), State Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-126th District) and State Rep. Tom Caltagirone (D-127th District) announced.
The following grants were funded with money from the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee:
- Berks County Commissioners received $104,976 in federal funds to support the Berks County Drug Court Initiative, specifically incorporating a full-time recovery support specialist to train and implement cognitive-behavioral intervention. The program is aimed to increase graduation rates and reduce recidivism.
- Berks Connections/Pretrial Services received $99,411 to support the Working Toward Change Initiative, providing workforce development programing. The Initiative aims to stabilize lives, improve employment retention and decrease recidivism.
The following grants were funded with federal money from the Victims of Crime Act, which is financed by penalties and fines paid by convicted offenders:
- MidPenn Legal Services – a nonprofit, public interest law firm – received $379,005 for Legal Intervention for Victims and Empowerment (LIVE) Extended.
- SAFE Berks, formerly Berks Women in Crisis, received $154,389 for VOCA Competitive Extension.
- Community Justice Project received $45,187 for Extended Immigration Legal Services for Victims.
- Friends of Farmworkers, Inc. received $28,671 for Fighting Notario Fraud in Berks County.
“We’re fortunate in Berks County to have a number of organizations reaching out to those most in need of support,” Schwank said. “These funds will allow these important projects to extend and expand their reach within our county.”
“It’s impossible to put a price on the good these grants will do,” Rozzi said. “I’m proud to have groups like these working in Berks.”
“These grants are a reminder of all the hard work being done to make our neighborhoods safe,” Caltagirone said. “This money will go to improving the lives of residents of Berks County and making our community a better place to live.”