Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $536,633)
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 New Jersey State Parole Board, in partnership with the city of Trenton Mayor's Office of Employment and Training, the New Jersey Department of Corrections, and Opportunities for All, a community-based organization, will utilize funding to develop a comprehensive prisoner reintegration initiative. The initiative will feature case management based on participants' assessed risk and needs, and an intensive job coaching component. The target population for this initiative will be adult, state sentenced offenders who are not identified as sex offenders, and who are returning to the city of Trenton and its surrounding urban areas. The greater Trenton area has a large influx of previously incarcerated individuals returning to its neighborhoods, with approximately five-percent of the total prison population of the state originating from the community.
Project goals will consist of three components: 1) pre-release service administration; 2) transition planning; and 3) post release supervision and service administration. In the pre-release phase, offenders will be identified by parole counselors through assessments, a computerized case planning and management tool, and a career scope interest inventory. In addition, steps will be taken to ensure targeted individuals are connected with appropriate pre-release programming while incarcerated, which include a reentry preparatory course with a curriculum that spans over the course of three-months and consists of 14 chapters addressing specific barriers often faced by offenders. Following this first phase, parole counselors will prepare a transition plan for the offender, identifying services appropriate to the individuals' assessed risk and needs, and connecting them to contracted and local level service providers. The last phase will entail the connection of the individual to a community-based organization for post release programming that includes substance abuse education, anger and conflict management, life skills, and job readiness training that links candidates to appropriate jobs.
It is anticipated that through the 24-month project period, program outcomes for purposes of replication will be evaluated through a participant outcome study that assesses overall program effectiveness and system performance, and a process evaluation on program implementation.