Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $750,000)
Gemeinschaft Home (GH), a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is requesting $750,000 through the BJA Second Chance Act Community Based Reentry Program, to establish the Gemeinschaft Reentry Opportunities for Women Program (GROW) in rural western Virginia. GROW is a comprehensive reentry initiative, integrating case management, evidence-based treatment and peer support in a modified therapeutic setting. GROW will serve a target population of 188 adult female offenders returning to communities in Virginia’s District 39 (including Harrisonburg City, Page County, and Rockingham County, Virginia) from state prisons, Community Correction Alternative Programs, and local/regional jails. The goals of the project are to reduce local recidivism rates among members of the target population, enhance community reintegration, and reduce criminal justice costs in the service area. This project qualifies for the following OJP policy priority considerations: 1) Serving a rural community 2) Serving individuals within high-poverty communities 3) Enhancing public safety within a Qualified Opportunity Zone. Additionally, GROW will directly enhance public safety by reducing currently high rates of local crime as participants become employed, tax-paying citizens and address substance abuse and mental health needs. GROW is working with the Virginia Department of Corrections, Rockingham County Court Services, the Rockingham County Regional Jail, the Page County Regional Jail, and the Middle River Regional Jail, to identify and refer high risk/high need offenders while incarcerated and expand access to evidence-based, cognitive behavioral programming while incarcerated. The program consists of two tracks: Track One combines residential placement and day reporting services in a six-month therapeutic program; Track Two offers day reporting services in a three-month therapeutic model. GROW will strive to recruit staff with lived criminal justice experiences. In addition, GROW will work with experienced independent evaluators to conduct a two-tiered quasi-experimental research design, identifying an equivalent comparison group of subjects receiving the traditional community supervision model, as well as comprehensive annual process and outcomes evaluations. GROW has presented a long-term plan for sustainability, driven on study findings and maintained relationships with correctional partners.