Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $900,000)
Incarceration and reincarceration is an American epidemic, with a devastating impact on individuals, their families, and their communities. Research is clear that substance use disorder is a key factor leading to recidivism. Formerly incarcerated individuals suffer substance use disorder at a drastically higher rate than the general population, with 82 percent of Missouri incarcerated individuals reporting a moderate to severe substance use problem.
Incarceration results in significant barriers to maintaining sobriety, including stable housing, transportation, education, unemployment, legal issues, reporting requirements, interpersonal relationship skills, and medical and mental health challenges. These barriers begin prior to release from incarceration, and current services are too disjointed, underfunded, or limited in time and scope to truly equip justice-involved individuals to maintain sobriety and avoid reincarceration.
Concordance aims to dramatically reduce reincarceration rates by precisely executing our holistic, integrated, evidence-informed re-entry program. Concordance’s comprehensive model – developed after years of research – begins six months pre-release and continue one year after release, offering continuity through the transition from incarceration back into the community. Each enrollee initially receives several assessments to evaluate their overall need, and, from there, creates an individualized Life Plan and Now – Next – Later Career Blueprint that guides their customized Concordance programming. Participants receive evidence-based Behavioral Health & Wellness interventions, and holistic support services in Employment & Job Readiness and Community & Life Skills.
Prior to release, Concordance works inside the prison institutions in cooperation with the Department of Corrections, and after release participants receive full time daily programming at the Concordance Center. For participants requiring additional sobriety support, Concordance facilitates medically-assisted treatment and operates the Concordance House, a sober living residential facility available to participants as needed. This comprehensive sobriety programming is proving effective – of all the participants served post-release in 2020, over 90% of participants drug screens were negative for substance use.
To date, Concordance has served over 900 participants and has reduced reincarceration amongst those served by over 40%, along with a host of positive sobriety outcomes. Concordance’s model has been accredited by CARF International and results have been validated by an independent quasi-experimental design analysis (with similar findings expected from a randomized controlled trial concluding in 2021).
With this grant, Concordance aims to further deploy and grow this proven model to provide justice-involved adults returning to the St. Louis area with the training and wrap-around services needed to maintain sobriety and avoid reincarceration.