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South Bend inmates rebuilding relationships at The Civic Theatre

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The South Bend Civic Theatre partnered with the South Bend Community Re-entry Center in order to give inmates a second chance at building relationships in the community.

The group of men meets at the theatre every Wednesday to do a host of projects – which includes building sets for stage plays.  

“There’s wood cutting, there’s screwing, there’s drilling,” said Marcus Fields, a South Bend Community Re-Entry Center participant. “That all takes place back here.”

Aaron Nichols, executive director of The Civic Theatre, said the partnership began with a performance at the re-entry center. He said men showed interest in helping with set design and even acting in the upcoming play ‘A Few Good Men.’

“It’s what we hope for and it’s what we hope for everyone that enters these doors,” Nichols said. “That they can participate in a multitude of ways.”

The re-entry center houses men at the end of their journey through the Indiana prison system, according to Warden Charles Bowen. He said each participant is within 24 months of release.

“I took advantage of it,” said Antrone Crockett, South Bend Community Re-Entry Center participant. “A lot of guys don’t but I think everyone should.”

Warden Bowen said empirical research shows the more positive community activity inmates have, the better chance there is to reduce recidivism. Nichols said the civic theatre is a great environment for them because they need to be a part of the civic conversation.

“Letting them see the good in you gaining their trust you know just about showing who you are,” said Fields.

Warden Bowen said the center partners with many programs across the city which allow for community rebuilding with inmates.

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