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Sweetwater Network presents Criminal Law Handbooks




Photo by Ange Hamilton
Sweetwater Network presents Criminal Law Handbooks to Texas County Jail.
Pictured from left: Ken Polm, Network Advocate; April Polm, Network volunteer, Sheriff Scott Lindsey; John Foster, Network Secretary and Treasurer; Tim Garnica, Jail Administrator; Cheryl Thurman, Network Board Member and volunteer; Rita Foster, Network Executive Director; Carolyn Campbell, Network volunteer; Maggie Erbe, Pastor of Raymondville UMC; Katie Mutzebaugh, Network Board Member.

By Ange Hamilton,
Staff Writer

  Sweetwater Network presented the Texas County Jail with Criminal Law Handbooks on Thursday, Jan. 10 in the lobby of the Texas County Jail. Raymondville United Methodist Church raised and donated the funds for the purchase of the handbooks.
  According to Sweetwater Network Executive Director Rita Foster, many offenders are brought to court without the resource of representation of an attorney or public defender.  This is due somewhat to a lack of funds on a government level and/or on a personal level; regardless, often the offenders go before the judge without representation. By placing these handbooks as a resource in the jail setting, it gives offenders a tool to navigate the judicial process.
  Sweetwater Network has seven to eight volunteers available to assist the offenders. The volunteers can be mentors by being someone who is willing to listen and help with making better choices to prevent relapse. The Network can help insure knowledge of proper documentation, provide community partnership and assist with finding resources and providing basic needs in emergency situations. The volunteer network cannot represent someone in a legal setting, is not an ongoing financial source and is not responsible for anyone’s success or failure. They can assist, with an offender’s cooperation, in helping the offender restore credibility and hopefully re-create a future.
  Tim Garnica, Jail Administrator and Sheriff Scott Lindsey were pleased to receive the handbooks.  “We have the same goal, which is to help the offenders not re-offend and to help rehabilitate them,” stated Sheriff Scott Lindsey.

Sweetwater Network, Inc., is a 501C3 organization, which means they can pursue grants to help fund their efforts.

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