Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $750,000)
BJA Second Chance Act FY21 Abstract – Valley Charities, Mat-Su Reentry Program
With the second highest rate of recidivism in the nation, Alaska enacted historic statewide criminal justice system reform in 2019. Through implementing best practices and progressive reentry program methods, regionally-based reentry coalitions in Alaska have worked to strengthen and create organizational partnerships that increase the coordination of services for individual’s post-release from prison in order to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.
The Mat-Su Reentry program has grown strong partnerships with the Alaska Department of Corrections and the Matanuska-Susitna Prisoner Re-entry Coalition to coordinate services in one of the largest regions of the state. Geographically, the Mat-Su region is the size of the entire state of West Virginia. Coordinating services is particularly challenging due to the rural infrastructure and economy with a population density of just 4.3 people per square mile. With 47% of prisoners in Alaska housed in one of the three correctional facilities in the Mat-Su region and an average of 700-800 prisoners released in the region each year, the need for reentry services is crucial to overcome barriers, stigmas, and the challenges of a rural area.
The proposed Mat-Su Reentry Program through Second Chance Act FY21 funding will continue on-going regional efforts to increase and strengthen the capacity of Valley Charities, Inc. to coordinate behavioral health, housing, workforce, identification, and other systems of care for adult prisoners re-joining communities in the Mat-Su region of Alaska. Starting pre-release, the program utilizes the Level of Service Inventory-Revised (LSI-R) tool, which determines an individual’s risk level and identifies the criminogenic needs of the individual. The program then works with the individuals after they have self-identified their goals for post-release to connect them with services who provide stability and accountability during critically vulnerable 30-day post-release periods. Follow-up continues throughout the following year through coordinated care. This level of coordination of services furthers the vision and goal of the program to increase public safety and assure a reentrants positive transition into the community.
Increased capacity to implement the Mat-Su Reentry program through the FY21 Second Chance Act will increase public safety and reduce recidivism rates in one of the fastest growing regions of Alaska. From this project, increased data, a strategic plan for continuing implementation of the Mat-Su Reentry program, and increased understanding through a written analysis and report at the end of the project will help further program development with potential program replication in other regionally-based reentry coalitions.