Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $536,235)
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 Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) will utilize the 2008 Reentry Program funds to accomplish two major goals: improve the effectiveness of its reentry strategy, and improve the ability of its community corrections system to hold both offenders and staff accountable while ensuring a seamless transition from the correctional system to the community.
Recognizing that more that 95% of offenders who are incarcerated are eventually released, the DPSCS will ensure that everyone released from its prisons receive the necessary services to prepare them for transition back to the community. Specifically, the department will implement a multi-faceted plan for services within the pre-release system, starting first with the department's three halfway house facilities: Dismas House East, Dismas House West, and Threshhold (all three located in Baltimore City). These services, coupled with community supervision, form the basis of a continuum of care that incorporates core program areas that are essential to the successful reentry of offenders from prison back to the community.
The services will be comprised of the following elements: (1) Targeting: to identify particular communities and types of offenders that have the greatest need and risks; (2) Release Planning: to motivate the offender to change by providing specialized services, such as life skills, victim/offender impact classes, and substance abuse counseling, which will contribute to a realistic transition plan; and (3) Post-Release Services: to develop partnerships essential to providing housing, employment, treatment, health (physical and mental) education, and relationship (family) needs, including re-unification between ex-offenders and their children.
Funds will be used to launch an innovative program that will improve service delivery to offenders by training case managers to: administer the LSI-R; interpret the assessment results to develop reentry accountability plans; and use motivational interviewing techniques to effectively monitor offender progress, or lack thereof. Funds will be used to cover the cost of training case management staff working in the pre-release system to perform these functions; enable the department to continually assess the program and make adjustments to improve program performance; and support the provision of aftercare services (selected via a competitive process) for those offenders exiting the targeted facilities. Grant funds will cover personnel and fringe; staff development training and conferences; office equipment and supplies; computer hardware; consultant services (pre- and post-release services and faith-based/community organization reentry services); and offender training, assessment, and interview manuals/forms.