Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $750,000)
The Berrien-Cass-Van Buren Workforce Development Board (dba Kinexus) proposes to expand its existing Second Chance Community-Based Reentry Program to serve two local jails located within 34 miles of one another, in southwest Michigan. The purpose is to provide a seamless reentry and holistic process for individuals transitioning to the community from Berrien County Jail and Van Buren County Jail.
Project activities include: validated criminogenic risk assessments that inform pre- and post-release services; customized reentry plans; comprehensive and robust case management in collaboration with community partners; evidence-based services focused on civil legal documents, housing, employment, financial literacy, transportation and pro-social support; connections to evidence-based programming for employability skills training, adult education, recovery services, civic legal assistance, and health care; and an independent evaluation.
Expected outcomes include increased collaboration between local Sheriff's departments, county jails, Michigan Department of Corrections probation officers, judges in the county court systems, public defender offices, local community correction advisory boards, and community organizations to address the needs of individuals exiting the jails; delivery of evidence-based services to 200 program participants; leveraging of evidence-based programming at the American Job Centers operated by the Berrien-Cass-Van Buren Workforce Development Board; a full continuum of services in partnership with community agencies and organizations; high employment rate; low recidivism; and a final evaluation report. The primary beneficiaries of the project include the 200 individuals assessed as moderate- to high-risk for recidivism and
receiving holistic reentry services. Additional beneficiaries include the many employers who will solve their talent pipeline needs by giving these returning citizens the opportunity to thrive as well as the communities in which they successfully transition to after incarceration.