Family service specialist helps inmates upon release

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Once inmates are released from jail, it's critical to get them the services and help they need. Providing resources to help ensure inmates don't end up incarcerated again is one of family service specialist Vanessa Justice's overarching goals at the Washoe County jail.

"It's shown through recidivism that a lot of the time if they don't have that, they get lost in between. So the more services the jail can provide, the more the community can provide, it will benefit our people," Justice says.

During her time working with inmates in Washoe County, she has helped to more than double the number of applications submitted by inmates for resources when they are released.

"2017 we provided about 217 applications and in 2018 that number was about 570, and again over 100% increase, and our goal is to provide inmates with as many resources as we can so when they get out they have a better chance of not coming back," Chief Deputy Jeff Clark says.

Justice meets regularly with inmates providing information, resources and even clothing when inmates get out of jail.

"I love my job, these are my people, this is my community and I treat them with respect and dignity. When I sit in front of them. I just treat them like a person and give them the needs they need," she says.

Eddie Alvarez will soon be released. He says Justice has provided help he otherwise would not have known was available.

"The Hopes, I guess that's one of things they help when you get out there and you can have any type of doctor and people come and help you out even when you're on the outs," Alvarez says.

Justice says she's just doing her job and helping those who need her time, mind and hand.

"They made mistakes, we're all human, we can all make mistakes, but if we can create that connection it would be less gap for error per say, and it just helps our community and those that are really in need and ready to change as well," she says.