Claire Metzgar knows that taking a deep dive into the lives of individuals she connects with at Calhoun County’s Public Defenders Office will not keep them from being incarcerated for the criminal activity that brought them to her. Instead, her main focus as the office’s Social Work Coordinator is to keep those she works with from having any further interactions with the criminal justice system after they have served their time and are released.

This story was originally published by MLive and is part of the Mental Wellness Project, a solutions-oriented journalism initiative covering mental health issues in southwest Michigan, created by the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative. SWMJC is a group of 13 regional organizations (including Watershed Voice) dedicated to strengthening local journalism. For more info, visit swmichjournalism.com.