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Back on Track Reentry Program

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $394,500)

The Second Chance Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-199) reflects a comprehensive response to the increasing number of people who are released from prison and jail and returning to communities. There are currently 2.3 million people serving time in our 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 people make from prison or jail to the community is safe and successful. Section 101 of the Act, in addition to providing grants to state and local governments and federally recognized Indian tribes that may be used for demonstration reentry projects, also allows for the establishment of a National Adult and Juvenile Offender Reentry Resource Center.

The Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative provides funding to state and local governments and federally recognized Indian tribes for demonstration projects to promote the safe and successful reintegration into the community of individuals who have been incarcerated. Funded demonstration projects will use validated and dynamic assessment tools to determine the risks and needs of offenders.
Projects will provide offenders in prisons or jails with all necessary services to facilitate reentry into the community. In addition, the projects will develop procedures to ensure that dangerous felons are not released from prison prematurely and provide services that address treatment needs and protect communities against dangerous offenders Allowable uses of funds to enhance a successful transition include: pre-release assessment and case planning, mentoring, housing, education, substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, services to enhance family reunification, job training and readiness, and post-release case management and supervision.

City of Memphis will use the FY 2009 Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative funds to implement their Back On Track plan. The goal of the initiative is to partner and transition the Shelby County Division of Corrections services with the city's post-release programs and services. This highly structured, comprehensive approach will improve the preparation of inmates for release and provide post-release services for: (1) Providing emergency and basic needs (e.g., housing, food, clothing, and medical, legal, and financial assistance); (2) working with persons with disabilities (e.g., application for SSI benefits); (3) obtaining identification and other documents (e.g., drivers licenses, birth certificate); (4) arranging transportation; (5) locating educational and training opportunities, including tutoring for the GED; (6) gaining employment; and (7) accessing mental health, substance abuse, and family counseling. The plan was developed with input by members of the newly established Back On Track Task Force, victims, local law enforcement agencies, correctional program staff, and the city's locally funded reentry program. The Center for Research in Educational Policy, based at the University of Memphis, will conduct an independent evaluation of the program. A total of 150 participants and a control group of 150 individuals will be identified at least 90 days prior to release through random selection from a group meeting program participation criteria.


Date Created: September 22, 2009