New I.G.N.I.T.E. campus educates Genesee County Jail inmates after release

The North campus in Flint will open in the next few weeks.
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 6:00 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (7/20/2021) - An opportunity for education behind bars in Genesee County will soon be available to inmates after they’re released.

The I.G.N.I.T.E. program is expanding with a new campus in Flint.

In just a few short weeks, anyone who has served time, received a felony or misdemeanor conviction in Genesee County can come to the north campus off Saginaw Street and Mott Avenue in Flint.

There, the Genesee County Ambassadors said the ‘I’ in I.G.N.I.T.E. no longer stands for inmate, it’s now for individuals.

“We have people who will be involved in I.G.N.I.T.E. that haven’t been a part of the system in over 30 years. But they’re out here and they want to change, they want to make their lives better,” Johnell Allen-Bey explained.

He and fellow Genesee County Ambassador Percy Glover, along with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office said that’s what the new campus is intended to provide.

“Once they’re back in the community, they’ll have something to touch, feel, experience, as it relates to additional services, training, education … everything that makes a person successful,” Glover said.

That success can’t happen overnight, which is why they believe this expansion is so necessary. Continuity and support are key.

Much like what’s offered in the jail, participants at the North campus will have access to HVAC, plumbing, automotive and electrical classes, barbershop school, Mott Community College classes, financial literacy lessons, the list goes on.

“We will have people who go from impoverished to actually being productive,” Allen-Bey said. “Being able to say you know what, I’m responsible for paying my own mortgage or my own rent, and being able to purchase my own car, being able to have my own money. That’s big. That’s huge in our community.”

It’s considered a lifeline to so many wondering what’s next as they leave the jail. A daunting experience, the two said, no matter how much time was spent there. The goal of I.G.N.I.T.E. is to make sure they don’t go back.

“That excites me. That’s what gives me goosebumps,” Allen-Bey added. “Because of the fact that we’re making an impact that’s going to change a culture in our country and it started right here in Flint.”

This expansion comes not even a year after the program started in the Genesee County Jail.

On the one-year anniversary of the launch in September, the team will be traveling to Minnesota to bring I.G.N.I.T.E. to a county jail in Minneapolis.

If you’d like to take advantage of this community resource, click here or call 810-969-0449. Again, anyone who has a record in Genesee County is welcome.

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