A new program intended to rehabilitate convicts at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction is causing residents at a nearby condominium complex to voice concerns.
The facility off Route 66 in Northampton shares a fence with the Meadowland complex.
Tensions were high at a meeting Thursday night.
"I'm not a fan of it being in my backyard," said resident of the complex Meghan Rothschild.
Rothschild is just one of the residents of Meadowland Condominiums with fears over a new program being proposed by the Hampshire County Sheriff's Department.
"People are worried about what this type of program could do in terms of impacting our safety at our residence," she said.
The proposal would move 16 convicts with three to six months remaining on their sentences from behind barbed wire to a home across the street, which shares a fence with Meadowland.
Patrick Cahillane is the assistant superintendent of the correctional facility.
"I think every individual fears the unknown, and this to many of these individuals is probably an unknown," he said after Thursday's meeting.
He says the program would not include people convicted of sex crimes or murder and they would have to complete certain programming to apply, the goal being to help them reintegrate to society.
"We can't continue to build prisons and lock people up without some goal of getting some of these individuals back into society," Cahillane said.
Ninety-eight percent of convicted criminals at some point will be reintegrated back into society, and Cahillane says this is the most successful way to do that.
"Let's put them into a community where they can succeed and that's part of this goal."
Rothschild says she and her community will try to keep an open mind.
"It's really important to have an open line of communication here with the correctional facility so we can express our concerns as this program progresses."
The home would be staffed with security as well as treatment specialists and housing and employment specialists.
There is not yet a date as to when it will open.
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