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Community Reinvestment- Re-Entry Maureen Price-Boreland, Esq. Executive Director Community Partners in Action, established 1875 Member Agency Of Connecticut Association of Non-Profits
Goals of Effective Prison Re-entry • Safer Communities • Community Investment • Social reintegration • Stabilize the offender in the community • Continued intervention/supervision post incarceration • Reduce Recidivism • Reduce incarceration cost to the state
The “state” of the State of Connecticut re-entry services • Connecticut is viewed nationally as progressive in its re-entry efforts • CT’s DOC is committed to re-entry services • DOC and CSSD have a proven track record of funding a myriad of services for re-entry services • CT has a long and established good working relationship between the DOC, Board of Parole, CSSD and Community Providers
The “state” of the State of Connecticut re-entry services. • CT through the legislative leadership of Bill Dyson and Mike Lawlor conducted a review and implementation of reinvestment strategies (Building Bridges 2003 & 2004) which has resulted in correctional cost reinvestment and legislation on prison and jail overcrowding • CT has a rich group of established community providers who have partnered in providing quality re-entry services to the criminal justice population for many years • This partnership and alternatives to incarceration have resulted in immense savings to the State of Connecticut. Estimated average community cost per person $3,000-$8,000 vs. $27,000-$30,000 for incarceration
Premise and Need for Community Programs/Services • Approximately 96% of those incarcerated will return to the community • Period immediately following release is a critical transition point for offenders • Managing re-entry is critical so that fewer crimes are committed • Managing re-entry so that fewer crimes are committed enhances public safety
Premise of Need for Community Programming/Services contd. • Managing re-entry so that there are fewer returns to prison=significant cost savings • Managing re-entry benefits families and communities • Coordinated approach to re-entry is effective in reducing recidivism • Churning is expensive
Issues with re-integration Men and Women are re-entering with: • Low levels of educational and vocational skills • Many with health related issues to include mental health and substance abuse • Serious housing, educational, employment, social and family needs • Most are returning to concentrated communities which are already deprived of resources and ill equipped to meet the challenges of this population. (Five towns reflect 50% of the incarcerated population)
Issues with re-integration contd. • Limited assistance in reintegration for end of sentence inmates (EOS) pose immediate public safety risks • Increased pressure on criminal justice system to solve the social ills within communities • Significant collateral impact
Issues with re-integration contd. • Persistent pressure for a tougher response to crime • More bi-furcation between urban and suburban areas • African American Ratio 12:1 in CT. • 88% of those overdosing on drugs according to DPH’s 2004 report are white • Significant racial and ethnic disparity in the system
Employment/Training and Re-Entry Challenges: • Prison records diminish prospects for stable employment and reduces average wages • Time spent in prison is time spent out of the legitimate labor market • Stigma associated with having served time • Ex-Offenders are barred from working in certain types of jobs Desired results: • Employed ex-offenders are less likely to return to prison • Education and Job Training placements reduces the likelihood of re-incarceration
Health and Re-Entry Challenges: • Nationally 30-40% of offenders report chronic physical or mental health conditions, most commonly depression, asthma and high blood pressure • Higher rates of schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder and posttraumatic stress than general population (21% with significant needs in Connecticut) • Infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS are a significant problem • Incarceration makes offenders ineligible for Medicaid Desired Results: • Facilitating timely linkages between corrections and local mental health and physical care providers is critical • Services should meet the specialized and identified risk factors of the offender e.g. sex offender treatment, domestic violence, substance abuse
Housing and Re-Entry Challenges: • Housing is one of the most pressing concerns for ex-offenders • Without housing ex-offenders have trouble finding and maintaining stable employment • Without stable housing, ex-offenders are more likely to return to prison • Public Housing denies housing to ex-offenders • Some ex-offenders will find housing with family or friends, others in public shelters and many are homeless Desired Result: • Securing stable housing is critical to fostering successful re-entry • Appropriate housing should take into consideration a healthy and supportive environment
Substance Use and Re-Entry Challenges: • 88% of Connecticut offenders report substance abuse addiction or substance abuse having an impact on their incarceration • 26% receive treatment while incarcerated • Offenders identify substance abuse as being a critical factor associated with problems for employment, schooling, family, finances and criminal activity Desired Results: • Continuum of services from prison to community addressing substance abuse • Adequate inpatient and out patient evidenced based substance abuse services
Families and Re-Entry Challenges: • Incarceration has a major impact on the family unit • Family oriented services can appropriately strengthen ties between offenders and their loved ones Desired Results: • Strong family relationships can lead to improved employment outcomes and act as a protective factor against further criminal activity. • Need to be mindful and plan for issues such as domestic violence, risk of injury to children that may not be conducive to family reintegration
Communities and Re-Entry Challenges: • Large number of offenders returning to mostly 5 communities in Connecticut • These communities are overwhelmed with managing this concentration • Limited resources to address the social ills that ex-offenders bring back to the community Desired Results: • Network of informal control, empowered and informed part of the solution – family, religious organization, mentor • Strong partnerships between formal and informal controls • Information sharing between parole, probation and community providers strengthen the ability to identify, predict and possibly deter future criminal activity
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Challenges: • Offenders make poor choices in problem solving • Many offenders exhibit poor impulse and self control Desired Results: • Offenders must develop better reasoning skills, learn problem solving skills and improve self control • Teach offenders to anticipate problematic situations and develop alternate pro-social behavioral response to those situations • Crisis intervention with intense case management is critical • These services need to be administered close to release and reinforced post release
Program Evaluations Goals: • Research can help to inform on effectiveness of programs • Evaluations will produce evidence on the link between “good” re-entry and recidivism • Help in the efforts to develop future activities
Program Evaluations Evaluations should look at both Process and Outcomes: • Process evaluations- Does not evaluate effectiveness. • Identify issues that obstruct program participation and program operation- quantitative and qualitative • Identify clear operational details of the program • Outcomes: • Does the program reduce recidivism? • Is the program cost effective? • Does the program produce benefits in terms of education, substance abuse reduction, employment, housing stability, family functioning and cognitive skills?
Public perception vs. Reality issuesArguments for Alternatives • Time served is a significant component of the rising prison population • Time served does not influence recidivism • Increasing time served does not contribute to general deterrence • Time in prison is expensive • Longer prison terms erode community ties • The pressure to punish the offender beyond the established sentence can be counter-productive • We cannot imprison our way out of the problem
Sample Programs that work • Resettlement, established 1972- Long term case management services to female offenders 6 months prior to release and up to one year follow up services in the community. • U.S. Department of Labor re-entry grant.-Awarded to Connecticut under the President’s Re-Entry Initiative. Focuses only on non-violent offenders for employment services.
Resettlement-est.1992 • Have at least 4 to 6 months left on their sentence • Participant must actively participate in identifying needs and problems, setting goals to overcome issues and succeed. • Participant must develop a concrete transitional plan addressing goals for the future • Participant must help develop and sign a commitment contract • Ongoing individual and group guidance, support and encouragement • Basic needs offered ; housing, clothing, identification, access to employment services, substance abuse/mental health, and medical treatment.
U.S. Department of Labor Re-Entry Grant- March 2006-Present 3 Year Grant to Community Partners in Action and a group of collaborative community partners: • Department of Correction • Capital Workforce Development Board • Urban League of Greater Hartford • Families in Crisis • South Arsenal Neighborhood Development Corporation (SAND) • Co-Opportunity, Inc. • Our Piece of the Pie
Goals and Services of Prep Re-Entry Seeks to strengthen the Greater Hartford offenders with an employment centered program that incorporates: • Risk and Needs assessment • Case Management • Mentoring and Family intervention • Job Training • Job Development, placement and intervention • Substance Abuse • Other Transitional services
Results to Date-11-28-07U.S. DOL Re-Entry Grant • Participants enrolled- 318 • History of Alcohol or Substance Abuse- 224 • Received Job Training Activities- 44 • Received Work preparation activities- 306 • Received Mentoring Services- 232 • Job Placements- 166 • Recidivism Rate- 28%
Connecticut’s Case Study Conducted by: • Public Safety Performance ( A project of the Pew Charitable Trusts) and • The Council of State Governments www.pewpublicsafety.org
Strategic Planning and Recommendations 1.Coordinated and centralized re-entry system to include stakeholders: • Correctional Staff • Community Corrections • Police • Judicial staff • Non-Profit Provider Network • Mental Health Providers • Local Workforce Boards • Victim Advocates
Strategic Planning and Recommendations • Coordinated system should include- Institutional phase, structured re-entry phase and community re-integration phase. • Coordinated communication system between Corrections and Community providers to ensure identification and provision of services based on risk and needs • Legislative and State Agencies- Intervention in assisting with siting residential facilities • Support for Non-Profits to enhance their service delivery and ensure stability of the provider network – Constant loss of staff to state agencies, ability to hire staff with required qualifications