Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $985,054)
The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, located in New Orleans, Louisiana, is a parish (county) level governmental body which manages the operation of the local jail- the Orleans Justice Center, which manages approximately 1000-1100 residents daily (currently 1068), 90% of whom are African-American. Many of these residents are high-risk for recidivism due to low education levels, substance abuse, mental health and medical issues, a lack of job skills, and a host of additional indicators. Individuals who are arrested for violent crimes may remain in the custody of the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office for lengthy periods of time (average 276 days up to 8 years).
This population currently has no reentry programming and no formal assessment or case management system. Therefore, assistance is being sought to formally organize a successful reentry program to include community partners and professional staff, add education programming, add counseling and reentry programming, upgrade the current database to include tracking of all reentry aspects, evaluate program success including recidivism rates, provide housing options, provide assistance to residents post-release, and receive technical assistance from BJA.
The population to be served by this project are those housed at the facility beginning at the two-week mark of the individual’s residency to allow for the resident to be settled into a permanent pod (with consideration of other residents to comply with the requirements of the Prison Rape Elimination Act) and ensure that the resident is not under a judicial 72-hour hold for a minor infraction. It is expected that a minimum of 1500 residents will be served over the course of the project. Beginning the program when a resident has been housed for two weeks.
This project has secured community partner/support agencies for the implementation of this project. Collaborative representation from each agency would form the Reentry Taskforce Council who will oversee the project. These partners consist of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections (education and project guidance), Orleans Parish Adult Education (education), Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse for Greater New Orleans (Subrecipient: counseling and reentry programming), Southern University of New Orleans (Subrecipient: research data, evaluations, and recidivism), First 72 (housing), Operation Restoration (Subrecipient: housing & adult education), Unity (housing), and OPSO staff/program facilitators (project coordination, security, needs assessments, and program delivery). During the Planning Phase, additional partners will be identified to ensure program quality is maintained and all project participants’ needs are addressed.