Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $300,000)
The Second Chance Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-199) provides a comprehensive response to the increasing number of people who are released from prison and jail and returning to communities. There are currently over 2.3 million individuals serving time in federal and state prisons, and millions of people cycling through local jails every year. Ninety-five percent of all prisoners incarcerated today will eventually be released and will return to communities. The Second Chance Act will help ensure the transition individuals make from prison or jail to the community is safe and successful. Section 211 of the Act authorizes grants to nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Indian tribes that may be used for mentoring projects to promote the safe and successful reintegration into the community of individuals who have been incarcerated.
The Second Chance Act grant programs are designed to strengthen jurisdictions characterized by large numbers of returning offenders. 'Reentry' is not envisioned to be a specific program but rather an evidence-based process that begins with initial incarceration and ends with successful community reintegration, indicated by lack of recidivism. Per the Second Chance Act, funded mentoring projects should use validated and dynamic assessment tools to determine the risks and needs of offenders included in the project's target population. Program components must include mentoring adult offenders during incarceration, through transition back to the community, and post-release; transitional services to assist in the reintegration of offenders into the community; and training regarding offender and victims issues. Applicant agencies/organizations are expected to demonstrate their capability to deliver or broker the provision of transitional services proposed to be offered in conjunction with the core mentoring component. Examples of 'transitional services' designed to increase success in reentry and thus reduce recidivism might include the establishment of a pre-release mentoring relationship, housing, education, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, services to enhance family reunification, job training and readiness, and post-release case management.
The Kanawha Institute for Social Research & Action, Inc. (KISRA), will use the FY 2009 Second Chance Act Mentoring Grants to Nonprofit Organizations grant funds to administer the KISRA Re-Entry Mentoring Program. Under the grant funds, the goal of the program will be to increase public safety and reduce recidivism among incarcerated persons returning to Kanawha and Cabell Counties in West Virginia. Program components will include mentoring, workforce readiness, job placement, and support services. The services will be tailored to assist these incarcerated individuals returning to these counties by delivering programming and helping them form long-term attachments to the labor market. The target population will consist of individuals aged eighteen and older who are convicted of non-violent crimes as an adult and returning. The voluntary program will include clients who meet program criteria and are referred to KISRA by the West Virginia Division of Corrections (WVDOC).