Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $750,000)
The goal of Return 2 Success is to help stabilize the Kansas City (MO) Metropolitan Area through pre- and post-release transitional services for 150 adults completing sentences at the Kansas City Reentry Center (KCRC) and returning to high-poverty areas of Kansas City. Return 2 Success will be implemented in partnership with the Missouri Department of Corrections (including KCRC personnel and the Division of Probation and Parole), the Missouri Department of Social Services, Kansas City law enforcement, workforce development partners and local employers, and community- and faith-based organizations. Transition services include pre-release job readiness training and personal development (including cognitive-based programming), comprehensive case management and life coaching, mentoring from trained volunteers, vocational/career coaching, family support services, education (including adult literacy, HiSet preparation, and community college enrollment) and occupational training leading to credentials and employment with pathways to a living wage, and mock interviews and supported links with local employers. Additional post-release assistance includes transportation assistance, applications for public benefits, peer support meetings, networking, and referrals to transitional housing, substance use disorder treatment and recovery supports, and other services as needed. Deliverables include: 1) the completion of a project Action Plan with BJA assistance; 2) the development of Life Plans with individualized goals and services that align with needs and risks identified by the validated Ohio Risk Assessment System (ORAS); 3) the pre-release delivery of CtS’s 60-hour Personal and Professional Development (PPD) evidence-based training; 4) the randomized matching of mentors with program participants pre-release who will continue the mentoring relationship post-release; 5) the post-release completion of occupational training programs leading to industry-recognized credentials and in-demand employment; 5) the completion of regular reports to the BJA, including performance and outcome reporting, quarterly financial reports, progress reports, and final financial and process reports, and 6) the completion of an independent evaluation utilizing a randomized, controlled trial to demonstrate program effectiveness. Those who benefit from this program includes participants and their families; the MO Department of Corrections (by having additional support available for returning citizens); Kansas City employers (through a reentry program of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, another project partner) who hire well-qualified project graduates to fill workforce needs; and the Kansas City Metro Area, as effective reentry programming helps prevent further crime and promotes community stability.