Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $299,969)
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.
Rochester Institute of Technology will use the FY 2009 Second Chance Act Mentoring Grants to Nonprofit Organizations funds for he Women's Reentry Project (WRP). This project reflects the work of a broad community coalition and the specific partnership between a university, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and a community organization, the Judicial Process Commission (JPC). Under the grant funds, WRP will provide mentoring services for pregnant women and new mothers returning from jail. These women will also be classified as high risk offenders and convicted as adults, imprisoned in a Monroe County, New York jail facility, and returning to the high ex-offender populated areas of Rochester, New York. The WRP is designed to provide the TP with individually tailored, comprehensive and integrated services crucial to successful reentry. The program will include pre-release support and support for family issues (e.g. parenting, pre/post natal health care, family reunification). In addition, the funds will be used to recruit, train and supervise up to 40 mentors. Evaluation data will be gathered in sufficient detail to document what was done and what worked so that organizations can replicate the process.