Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $540,000)
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 offenders. The PRI is designed to reduce recidivism by helping returning offenders find work and assess other critical services in their communities. The PRI supports strategies to deliver pre- and post-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 offenders.
In FY 2008, BJA will again coordinate the PRI Program with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The design of the FY 2008 PRI Program is structured to work in conjunction with a DOL-selected faith ' or community-based organization (FBCO).
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC) in conjunction with the Executive Reentry Committee will use FY 2008 PRI funds to provide re-entry services for Tulsa County. The ODOC will educate the Executive Reentry Committee and train partner agencies on the wraparound model of offender reentry. Partner agencies will recruit and train citizens to be potential team members for the wraparound intervention model. A wraparound team is composed of four to eight people in the life of the offender and includes family members who are familiar with and care about the offender, as well as clergy, employers, mental health providers, etc. The wraparound team creates and implements a plan that is offender-driven and based on the unique strengths and culture of the offender.
Tulsa Metropolitan Ministries (TMM) will provide team members for the wraparound model who will be utilized as mentors to provide pro-social support. The Resonance Center for Women will also provide team members for the wraparound model, as well as provide female offenders with career counseling, employment assistance, and life skills. For at least 18 months, the program will allow women to learn the 'hard' skills of refurbishing furniture, and the 'soft' skills of interviewing, budgeting personal finances, developing a work ethic, building self-worth, and getting along with co-workers. Both TMM and Resonance will develop a system of communication with ODOC Transition Coordinators to match citizens with offenders for each wraparound team.
The critical elements of the reentry strategy will include pre-release, transition planning, and post-release services. Six months prior to an offender's release, a pre-release plan will be developed by the offender's case manager. Pre-release plans will identify where the offender will reside and secure employment. Pre-release activities will include completion of recommended programs to address educational, substance abuse, vocational, life skills, entrepreneurial training needs, and mental health and cognitive distortions. Pre- and post-assessment of target behaviors will be used to determine successful completions based on skill acquisition.
Post-release services offered through this grant will include the following: a connection to a dedicated transition specialist who will assist in job placement and assistance with continuing entrepreneurial business plans; a partner agency dedicated to working with female offenders that will conduct career counseling and placement; and partner agency team members who will have contact with the offenders to facilitate stabilization as evidenced by consistent employment, adequate housing arrangements, appropriate relationships, and continued education and treatment services. The Executive Reentry Committee will meet regularly to monitor the progress of the post-release activities to ensure the offenders are receiving the services and support necessary to stabilize and become productive citizens.