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 Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley will use the FY 2009 Second Chance Act Mentoring Grants to Nonprofit Organizations funds for the Ex-Offender Mentoring Project. The program will assist male offenders, between 18 and 39 years of age, who are incarcerated at the Dayton Correctional Institution, and/or the Montgomery Education and Pre-Release Center in Ohio. The program participants will include offenders, who upon return to Montgomery County, will be assessed as high/medium risk, and will not be on parole or post release control (without supervision). The mentoring program will provide services to assist the program participants with barriers ranging from the inability to secure safe housing, gainful employment, valid forms of identification, and access to community services. As a result of the close working relationship, the grantee expects that the program participants will develop strong and personal relationships with the program mentors. The mentors will work with the participants on the following: (1) Placement in employment situations; (2) securing housing opportunities; (3) transition back into society; and, (4) improvement of family relationships.