The Greater Waterbury Reentry Council Achieves More Together

by | Apr 6, 2023

Tracie Bernardi Guzman, Case Manager at the Waterbury Reentry Welcome Center reflected upon what it means to return home after incarceration. As a formerly incarcerated person who spent 23 years in jail, Tracie is familiar with the steep challenges facing returning citizens as they try to rebuild their lives.

“Community Partners in Action helped me when I came home and now I’m able to give back,” said Tracie. In addition to helping participants with housing and basic needs, Tracie runs a weekly support group where she uses her own lived experience to relate to and inspire people to achieve their own successful reentry.

On April 4, 2023, members of the Greater Waterbury Reentry Council joined the online conversation led by Beth Hines, Executive Director of Community Partners in Action. This diverse group that meets monthly represents a wide range of community leaders from nonprofits like the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, to organizations that provide free counseling, employment, legal and financial literacy services.

The council’s purpose is to offer support, resources, and advocacy to help returning citizens transitioning back home after incarceration so they can live productive lives.

Carly Tuthill from the Chase Center halfway house in Waterbury, a program from Community Solutions, Inc., shared her perspective regarding participants’ initial skepticism of reentry services. “There can be a fair amount of resistance for some people who are leaving prison,” said Carly. “Once we explain what services are available, people begin to see that the reentry community genuinely wants to help, and they can begin to trust again.”

Statewide initiatives such as the Workforce Education and Reintegration Services for Employment Program (WE RISE) expand employment opportunities for justice involved individuals. The Waterbury Reentry Welcome Center just concluded a two-week employment readiness program called STRIVE, with five participants who graduated. Eligibility includes formerly incarcerated adults ages 18 and over, and those on parole or probation.

State of Reentry in Connecticut

Last month a group of lawmakers and community nonprofit leaders gathered for a Press Conference in Hartford’s legislative building to debate the current State of Reentry. The conversation centered upon humane prison systems and the funding necessary to support the rehabilitation of individuals inside and reentering their communities.

According to the Department of Corrections, there were about 10,000 individuals in prison across Connecticut as of March 1, 2023. While this number is considerably lower than it used to be, the needs are still there when prisons close. Executive Director Beth Hines has shared testimony in the past regarding her support for apportioning some of the savings from prison closures such as Willard Correctional Institution towards Justice Reinvestment initiatives. This includes reentry welcome centers across the state.

“Putting dollars into comprehensive community services offered through reentry welcome centers such as the two Community Partners in Action operates in Waterbury and Hartford, reduces recidivism and creates stronger and safer communities,” said Beth.

To learn more about Community Partners in Action and its advocacy initiatives, go to hppts://