Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $539,971)
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 Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA-DOC) proposes to utilize the FY 2008 Reentry grant to implement an assessment center in eastern Pennsylvania, and serve at least 200 offenders who will complete pre-release programming. A multi-disciplinary approach to assessment and treatment will be utilized to address various offender needs (e.g., physiological, psychological, spiritual, educational, legal, parenting, etc.). The PA-DOC has made continual efforts to increase programming for offenders in community corrections settings across the state. The target population for this grant will be parole referrals to the Philadelphia Region I Community Corrections Centers, who are 18 and older, non-sexual offenders convicted as an adult. This region is inclusive of the southeast portion of Pennsylvania, commonly known as the Philadelphia area.
Although the assessment process that takes place in the State Correctional Institutions (SCI) has been effective for pre-release and parolee referrals released to community corrections from the institutions, it appears lacking for parolees, who violate parole while in their local communities and who are mandated to community corrections treatment programs to address substance abuse problems and/or criminogenic issues. In turn, the Bureau of Community Corrections is currently proposing the development of an assessment/placement model to be utilized for parolee referrals in a PA-DOC staffed and operated assessment center in each of the three regions across the State.
The goals of the assessment center include: 1) conducting comprehensive assessments of risk, needs, and responsivity factors; 2) ensuring that parole violators are placed in appropriate facilities by individual risk/need levels; 3) ensuring that a cognitive behavioral treatment approach is being utilized in all community corrections facilities; 4) utilizing pre/post test instruments that will measure parolee's treatment progress, as well as program effectiveness; 5) providing stability in the re-entry process; and 6) reducing recidivism in the parole violator population. Grant funds will cover personnel and fringe, reentry related travel, general office supplies, equipment for start-up of the assessment center, consultant services (assessment training), and contractual expenses (rental space, resident housing, and faith-based/community organization services).