MUNCIE − The sign at the main entrance to the building holding local courts and the jail says "Delaware County Justice and Rehabilitation Center." Officials are working hard to put meaning behind the rehabilitation part.

State and local officials gathered Thursday at the Justice Center to discuss and provide an update on the Integrated Reentry and Correctional Support program that launched at the county jail late last month. The program provides peer coaching for inmates and, in conjunction with the Delaware County Manufacturers Alliance and Ivy Tech Community College, can provide job placement and continuing mental health and addiction treatment after release.

Delaware County is one five pilot sites for the program. Other counties participating are Blackford, Daviess, Dearborn and Scott. Delaware County has the largest population of any of the participants and therefore has a special responsibility to make sure the program is successful before it is enacted statewide.

"When they do end up in jail, we are working at helping these people, not just monitoring them," Delaware County Sheriff Tony Skinner said.

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In Delaware County peer coaches work with inmates while the offender is still serving their term behind bars. The coaches, who have been through the criminal justice system themselves, help assess an inmate, determine a pathway for them and prepare them to re-enter life outside incarceration.

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