Looking to give a new lease on life to formerly incarcerated individuals, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez opened on Sept. 10 a new boutique named for his late predecessor.
Gonzalez, together with Kevin Livingston — the founder and president of 100 Suits for 100 Men — and Mrs. Lu-Shawn Thompson — the widow of the late District Attorney Ken Thompson, Gonzalez’s immediate predecessor — on Tuesday announced the grand opening of the Kenneth P. Thompson Boutique.
The boutique, located in the District Attorney’s Re-Entry Bureau in Downtown Brooklyn, will offer professional attire, free of charge, to assist men and women recently released from prison or involved with the criminal justice system as they search for and secure employment.
“In Brooklyn, we are committed to strengthening community trust in the criminal justice system and our commitment to justice does not end when a person is released from prison,” Gonzalez said. “It is our obligation to aid their reintegration into the community.
“This boutique is a great tool to help ex-offenders increase their self-esteem and get on the right path with access to professional work attire as they prepare for job interviews and seek to obtain employment,” he added. “The late District Attorney Ken Thompson firmly believed in fairness and second chances and this boutique named in his honor will continue that legacy.”
Livingston echoed those sentiments in praising the new boutique as another way to provide the recently released with a fresh start.
“We are proud to continue the legacy of service that was a cornerstone of Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson’s administration and forms the basis of our own mission,” Livingston said.
Lu-Shawn Thompson added, “My husband would be so proud to have his name associated with 100 Suits for 100 Men and would have been an avid supporter of Kevin Livingston and his amazing work. He would also have been pleased that Eric Gonzalez and the Brooklyn DA’s office are continuing to keep his legacy alive by continuing to make strides in criminal justice reform.”
The Kenneth P. Thompson Boutique will provide clothing for job interviews and employment, as well as personal empowerment support for individuals who have been incarcerated or otherwise involved with the criminal justice system.
The outfit will be operated by the not-for-profit organization 100 Suits for 100 Men, and will provide its services free of charge, primarily to individuals enrolled in the District Attorney’s re-entry programs.
Gonzalez said this partnership reflects his commitment to strengthen his office’s work in re-entry programs.
The Re-Entry Bureau currently includes three case management-based programs serving individuals who have been convicted of offenses and may have experienced incarceration or another form of removal from the community.
Gonzalez said the Kings County Re-Entry Task Force is a partnership with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (Brooklyn Region) that serves 300 individuals.
The district attorney noted that 100 Suits for 100 Men has operated programs throughout New York City and has sites in Harlem and Jamaica, Queens. This is its first permanent location in Brooklyn, and the first time it has partnered with a DA’s office to establish a permanent location.