Star Phoenix excerpt:

“Saskatoon is set to become the new home of a pilot program to help people recently released from jail or prison.

The program is the brainchild of members of STR8 UP, a non-profit organization that helps support former gang members in freeing themselves from criminal lifestyles and reintegrating into society. Currently the organization supports people located in Saskatoon, but its members want to expand so no one slips through the cracks.

“A lot of guys that are inside the correctional, they don’t stay within the correctional for the entire period of their sentence. So, they move … and what happens a lot of times is we tend to lose them when they move away,” said Alex Munoz, executive director of STR8 UP.

“What we would like to see is our model, which is based on prevention and intervention, be put forth not only in Saskatoon but also P.A., Regina and some of the major cities and then extend it from that point on.”

Munoz said the province’s current strategy of suppressing gang activity lacks the community connection to make it truly successful. Requests for assistance from STR8 UP — which has helped more than 400 people in the last 20 years through outreach services, professional development, access to mental and physical healthcare and community education — have doubled, he said.”

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