Parents Worried About Parolee Program Near City School
Monday, January 28, 2013 • 7:06am
PATERSON, NJ – Parents of students attending PANTHER Academy are asking city education officials to assign extra security staff to the school because of the proximity of a program for parolees.
The parents say they only recently learned that the Kintock Group was operating a Community Resource Center that provides a variety of services to about 65 former prison inmates per day across the street from the school.
“I was floored,’’ said one parent, Angel Sanchez, of when he heard about the Kintock center on Ellison Street. “It’s really scary. I’m not a dramatic person. But this is something we need some answers about.’’
“We don’t know what crimes these felons committed,’’ said Janet Caldero, president of the parents association at the school. “We’ve requested additional security because these people are hanging out right in front of the building.’’
The school district has arranged a meeting between the parents and representatives of the Kintock Group on February 11. “The district will wait to hear from the parents at this meeting and will make decisions after the meeting takes place,’’ said Paterson Public Schools spokeswoman Terry Corallo when asked whether extra security would be assigned to the school.
The Kintock center has been operating on Ellison Street since 2003, according to a statement issued by the Pennsylvania-based company. Until late last year, it used two sites in that area – one at 219 Ellison and another at 236 Ellison. But damage from a fire at an adjacent structure prompted the company to consolidate its program at 219 Ellison.
Paroles get a variety of services at the location, which is designed to help clients make the transition from incarceration to home. The offerings include life skills development, job placement programs, family intervention, stress and anger reduction, substance abuse counseling and relapse prevention, according to Kintock. The company said the clients had been convicted of a variety of offenses, but it did not provide details. Kintock operates halfway houses at other locations in New Jersey, but no one lives at the facility in Paterson.
“Providing a successful pathway to gainful employment and citizenship for former offenders residing in our communities is a tremendous public-policy priority, and rightly so,’’ said the statement issued by Kintock. “Doing this work successfully contributes to safer and more vital communities, stronger families and taxpayer savings.”
The company said there not been any incidents or arrests involving Kintock clients in the neighborhood of its Ellison Street facilities.
PANTHER (which stands for Paterson and NASA Together for High Expectations and Results) opened in September 2004 at the corner of Memorial Drive and Ellison Street. The state renovated and expanded an old commercial building. The Kintock program already was operating when the school opened. It is not clear whether the correctional program on Ellison predated the start of the school construction.