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).
Under the FY 2008 PRI funds, the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) will administer Delaware's Prisoner Reentry Initiative. The strategy will include efforts to streamline pre- and post-release assessments and services and develop transition plans for at least 200 offenders. The project will include both the assessment/planning and implementation phases. The Criminal Justice Council (CJC) will be the lead agency responsible for the grant.
The goals of the program are to: 1) improve the reentry process for an individual from prison through release to the community; 2) ensure a better connection between government agencies, non-profit organizations, and faith-based groups; 3) increase availability and access of identified reentry needs including housing, employment, treatment (including mental and general health and substance abuse), education and community integration (including emergency services, family re-unification, mentors) for individuals; and 4) reduce recidivism rates for offenders in the program and increase public safety.
The benchmarks for the project are as follows: 1) an assessment tool will be selected for transitional planning within two months of award; 2) four social service coordinators will be hired and trained to perform the assessments and complete transitional plans for eligible participants within three months of award; 3) successful completion of the transition program by 200 offenders; 4) provision of housing options for 50 offenders; 5) job training and/or placement will be provided for a minimum of 100 offenders; and 6) re-incarceration for the program participants will be below 25 percent during the grant period.
Participants will enter the program on a volunteer basis and remain enrolled until the transition plan is complete with six months of stability or successful completion of the supervision period. The Bureau of Community Corrections will monitor offenders for supervision compliance.
The FBCO will maintain a list of employers that hire ex-offenders and will also provide soft skills training for employment. The FBCO will also partner with the state DOL and seek to increase liveable wage employment opportunities. Up to two other FBCO providers will be identified and utilize 20 percent of the grant funds to provide post-release services with a primary focus on housing, potentially including emergency needs (clothing, food, transportation), family reunification, counseling, life skills, and other treatment services.