Six people posing in front of a mural at McGrath House

Left to right: Commissioner of Probation Ed Dolan, former state Rep. Marie St. Fleur, McGrath House Program Director Lisa Chute, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, CRJ President & CEO John Larivee, and CRJ Director of Innovation, Implementation, and Development Gabriella Priest at McGrath House on Nov. 27.

BOSTON – Mayor Marty Walsh toured Community Resources for Justice’s McGrath House reentry center in November to learn more about how the program supports women transitioning from incarceration back into the community, and to hear directly from program residents.

The visit to the South End program the day before Thanksgiving provided the mayor, who is a longtime supporter of reentry services, a chance to see the program in person, meet staff and residents, and brainstorm additional ways to help previously incarcerated individuals succeed in the community.

A large group of people sitting around a conference table

The visit came exactly two years after Walsh first met with CRJ President and CEO John Larivee about McGrath’s dwindling funding, which would force the program to temporarily close months later. Walsh joined the wave of advocacy for increased state funding for community-based residential reentry programs, which succeeded in securing a dedicated $5 million line item in the state budget, enabling the program to reopen in June.

CRJ leaders, Commissioner of Probation Ed Dolan, and the mayor discussed how community-based reentry programs are a critical piece of the transition home after incarceration, helping participants find jobs, secure housing, and connect with counseling services. Participation in a reentry program can also help reduce the chances that an individual will have further contact with the criminal justice system, experience homelessness, or suffer an overdose.

Later, Walsh talked with a group of residents about their experience at McGrath House, their hopes for the future, and the impact of incarceration and substance use on their lives.

“Life gets better,” he told them. “Trust me.”

Mayor Marty Walsh standing with his arms over the shoulders of two CRJ staff members

Mayor Walsh poses with McGrath House Program Director Lisa Chute (left) and Assistant Director Amanda Bonilla (right).