• #LeadILM2020 Meet Community Leaders in Justice & Public Safety

    #LeadILM2020 Meet Community Leaders in Justice & Public Safety

    The Leadership Wilmington class kicked off their session on justice and public safety with a progress update on Work on Wilmington. To date, the class has raised over $35,000 toward Work on Wilmington projects and over 250 volunteers are registered to help us on April 25, 2020. If you’d like to learn more about how you can help support Work on Wilmington please contact Meaghan Lewis at lewis@wilmingtonchamber.org.

    The justice session began with a presentation from Linda Bialaszewski on the 5th District’s Guardian ad Litem program. The Guardian program has existed in New Hanover and Pender Counties since 1983 with the charge to provide permanency and stability to children in the foster care system. Thanks to dedicated volunteers today the Guardian program has 100% case coverage but is always in need of additional Guardians. 

    Next the class heard from Chief District Court Judge Jay Corpening on many reform programs, including the Safer Schools Task Force, the Criminal Justice Advisory Group, and the School Justice Partnership among others. The School Justice Partnership was the first of its kind in North Carolina and highlights the benefits of systems collaboration to solve issues. The systems-based solution built via the School Justice Partnership keeps kids in the classroom and out of the courtroom.

    The class then met and heard from District Attorney Ben David, Interim Chief Donny Williams, and Sheriff Ed McMahon on the coordination of public safety in our community. Dr. Kim Cook also shared with us the principles of restorative justice, a practice that is beginning to take hold in New Hanover County Schools.

    The highlight of our afternoon was spent with Frankie Roberts and residents at Leading Into New Communities (LINC). At LINC we shared a meal with residents and learned why Frankie and his staff has committed to providing a safe place to land and second chance for those exiting incarceration. Over 700 people return to New Hanover County from incarceration each year and LINC is unique in their service, advocacy and support for these individuals by providing short-term housing, employment services, youth empowerment programs and more.

    Our day ended on a heavier note with a tour of the New Hanover County Detention Center. In the tour with Corporal Keri Williams we were confronted with the harsh realities of incarceration. The Detention Center currently houses about 530 individuals.