Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $450,000)
The Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI) is designed to provide funding to state units of government to develop and implement institutional and community corrections-based offender reentry programs. The PRI strengthens urban communities characterized by large numbers of returning, nonviolent prisoners. PRI is designed to reduce recidivism by helping returning inmates find work and assess other critical services in their communities. The PRI supports strategies to deliver pre-release assessments and services, and to develop transition plans in collaboration with other justice and community-based agencies and providers for supervised and non-supervised, nonviolent offenders.
Grant funding will be used to support the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services' efforts to develop a system to complement the Department of Labor (DOL) funded Prisoner Reentry Initiative (PRI), administered by the Episcopal Community Services of Maryland (ECSM). Additionally, funds will be used to support two certified Addiction Counselors to facilitate substance abuse treatment services, including group counseling for program participants. The Department will also be implementing a new program aimed at enhancing public safety and reducing recidivism rates. Reentry Enforcement Services Targeting Addiction, Rehabilitation and Treatment known as RESTART focuses on a combination of custody and control and rehabilitation and treatment services, rather than simply custody and control; providing key support services to address the needs of offenders returning to the community. RESTART is a coordinated approach to serving the needs of offenders before they are released to prevent recidivism. This change in philosophy does not mean that the Department is 'soft on crime' nor does it change the Department's commitment to public safety. This philosophical shift is in line with the national trend towards best practices that assist those transitioning from prison to the community with becoming productive members of society. RESTART was created to bring a common sense approach to corrections. It is based upon numerous research studies that emphasize the importance of cognitive restructuring programs, academic training, vocational skills training, and substance abuse treatment in reducing recidivism.