Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $491,576)
Project Connect will allow the County Detention Facility to plan, implement and expand effective reentry programming encompassing pre- and post-release efforts to reduce recidivism by providing evidence-based services that improve employment, housing, and transportation success for individuals reentering the community following incarceration. Project Connect will enhance and expand the partnership between the local Sheriff’s Office and several reentry-focused community-based partners, strengthening reentry efforts in the community.
Project Connect is an innovative project to connect incarcerated persons to community-based resources (pre- and post-release) focused on employment/education, housing, and transportation, leading to improved reentry experiences. We expect lower recidivism numbers and more significant community connectedness, making the reentry experience successful and productive. The intended outcome is more employment opportunities, access to safe and affordable housing, and the ability to travel throughout the community.
The focus area is a mid-sized County with a detention facility housing up to 1100 individuals. Beneficiaries will be those affected by incarceration, including current and former inmates, their families, and the greater community. Through collecting and intentional partnerships with strong community partners, we aim to reduce our overall jail population while improving the delivery of services pre-and post-release. Project Connect will engage participants in custody at the Detention Facility and continue providing services for up to 12 months post-release.
Project Connect will assist dedicated program staff in developing individual case plans based on evidence-based criminogenic needs assessments delivered through an established and proven assessment tool developed and supported by the State Department of Corrections. These case plans will focus on evidence-based interventions before release to support participation in established and emerging programming with our detention facility. Upon release, the case plan will provide participants with a personal reentry plan to guide them as they return to the community.
We are in the most economically distressed community in our State, disproportionately impacting communities of color, particularly young African American males. The racial breakdown of our jail population, and as a result, our reentry population, affects these communities the greatest. As a result, the local Sheriff and his entire staff have committed to innovative thinking and planning to target those community deficiencies and make a meaningful difference in effecting lasting change. Efforts to significantly impact these communities have fallen short and require a more collaborative approach to ensure impactful and lasting change.
Project Connect will support significant life-change for incarcerated individuals, their families, and the greater community.