Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $750,000)
Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry, Recovery and Employment:
Women in Hardin County, Kentucky
Eastern Kentucky Comprehensive Employment Program (EKCEP), a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization, is lead applicant and facilitator of a comprehensive collaborative partnership for a Category 2 Second Chance Act Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry Program to improve reentry outcomes for women in Harlan, County KY, population 111,607. The county jail incarcerates more women than any other in KY, a state with the second highest rate of female incarceration in the nation. The current county jail population is only 27% female; however, women comprised an equal share of annual jail intakes for five of the six years for which data is available. Statewide data indicates KY’s jail population is disproportionately non-white, but no data is available on race and ethnicity of women passing through the Hardin County jail. The project meets priority 1A by serving women, an historically underserved, marginalized segment the justice population. When diversity, equity, and inclusion are a priority, women cannot be excluded, and certainly not incarcerated women. Moreover, equitable reentry opportunities must consider race, ethnicity, and how culturally responsive initiatives may differ for men and women. This project will apply all these perspectives to the accrual of accurate data on the depth of disparities that impact re-entering women of color and their families (see pages 4-8). It also meets priority 2, as EKCEP project partners will engage jail staff and other justice stakeholders in developing a plan to implement a valid pre-release women’s criminogenic risk and needs assessment to inform collaborative release plans. EKCEP will offer job training and placement services to begin pre-release and continue post release until women are working at jobs that pay a living wage on par with men. Recovery Works, Elizabethtown, a KY DOC-approved provider of evidence-based intensive outpatient and residential treatment, will offer transitional recovery housing that welcomes diverse women including pregnant women being treated for opioid use disorder(OUD) with FDA-approved agonist medications. Senior staff with specialized experience treating women will work with Communicare Community Mental Health to ensure seamless continuity of care upon re-entry, without interruptions in clinically indicated medications for women diagnosed with serious mental health illnesses, and direct access to all crisis care supports and services. This collaborative project is expected to provide at least 60 women with potent core predictors of reentry success: housing safety, gainful employment, and appropriate community-based behavioral healthcare services.