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SUN: What lessons would you draw from the experience?
Molly: The lesson which is most striking to me is the importance of community support. It was public pressure from groups like the Ypsilanti NAACP, St. Mary's Church, Project Outreach and others that insured us our grievance hearing before the whole Board of Commissioners. If we hadn't kept people informed of our activities, if we hadn't worked with many community groups, they wouldn't have been able to stand behind us like they did.
Marta: Right. Community support is important in terms of the inmates, too. When we talk about reintegrating people into the community, when we talk about getting them involved with this agency, getting them that job, getting them into this activity, that can only happen with community acceptance of the Program, with employers who are willing to employ ex-cons, schools that are willing to accept ex-cons, groups that are willing to extend services, money, whatever -- people who are willing to commit time. That's the whole idea, the whole philosophy. It can't happen without support from all facets of the community.
SUN: What do you feel is going to be the future of the IRP from this point forward?
Marta: I think the superficial attempts will be made to help the inmates with minor problems, but the kind of real, serious change we were working toward will not occur.