FY 2023 Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative
During this webinar, which was held on April 20, 2023, Bureau of Justice Assistance personnel provided information about the FY 2023 Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative solicitation and how to apply.
Transcript also available as a PDF.
ANDRE BETHEA: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Bureau of Justice Assistance “Fiscal Year 2023 Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative.” Thank you all for joining. My name is Andre Bethea. I am a Senior Policy Advisor here at the Bureau of Justice Assistance.
Today, our agenda is to have an overview of OJP, BJA, FDA, as well as look at the actual grant programs that we have under the Second Chance Act. And then we're going to go take a deep dive into this very new program, Fiscal Year 2023 Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative. And then we'll end off with some additional information and logistics.
Now, we're just going to really, kind of, jump into the overview. Again, this is the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which is within the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice. Well, the Office of Justice Programs, or OJP, provides grant funding, training, research, and statistics to the criminal justice community. OJP is one of three grant-making components of the Department of Justice, along with the Office on Violence Against Women, and the Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services that are known as COPS.
So within the Office of Justice Programs are the SMART Office, which is the Office of Sex Offenders Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime. Also within OJP is the National Institute of Justice, the research office for the Department of Justice. Then we also have BJS, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and we have BJA, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which is where I sit.
BJA's mission is to provide leadership and services in grant administration and criminal justice policy developmental to support state, local, and tribal justice strategies to achieve safer communities. BJA works with communities, governments, and nonprofit organizations to reduce crime, recidivism, and unnecessary confinement, and promote a safe and fair criminal justice system. Check us out at bja.ojp.gov where our current Director is Karhlton F. Moore.
So what do we actually do at BJA? We fund, that is, we invest diverse funding streams to accomplish goals. We educate, meaning we research, develop, and deliver what works. We equip by creating tools and products to build capacity and improve outcomes. And lastly, we partner, that means we consult, connect, and convene with subject matter experts. This particular funding falls under the Second Chance Act, which is funding to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for youth and adults leaving detention and incarceration to return to their communities. Second Chance Act, or SCA, was signed in 2008 and was reauthorized in 2018 under the First Step Act. To date, over 500 million in grants had been administered to develop, implement, and test strategies that sits within state, local, and tribal governments as well as nonprofits.
What's the good use of BJA Second Chance Act funding? Well, grant funding serves as seed money, proof of concept, expand or enhance current programs, but also through BJA's Second Chance Act funding, we also provide a great deal of training and technical assistance to grantees so that they can work on initiatives with fidelity, operate programs with what is in line with the latest research, and we provide a level of project management and content expertise.
Second Chance Act funding also supports the National Reentry Resource Center, which supports not only just Second Chance Act grantees and technical training assistance, but also provides as a resource for the field at large. The National Reentry Resource Center is currently operated by the American Institute for Research and operates collaboratively with BJA and OJJDP, again, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The primary mission of the National Reentry Resource Center is to advance the knowledge base of the reentry field.
And now, we're just going to briefly go over some of the current Second Chance Act programs. Just wanted to highlight a few that are still open. The Community Reentry Grant Program is still open and the Smart Reentry Program is still open. You might want to turn your attention to those, but we are lifting up some of the more newer programs, like Improving Adult and Juvenile Crisis Stabilization and Community Reentry. While the fiscal year 2023 has closed, you should probably look into that program, it's a newly implemented into the Second Chance Act cohort. We also have Pay for Success, Swift, Certain, and Fair Supervision, as well as Improving Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Reentry Outcomes for Adults in Reentry.
Now, for the moment that we all have been waiting for, let's talk about this new program, the funding opportunity, Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative. The purpose of the Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative is to build programmatic, financial, and organizational capacity in CBOs, or Community-Based Organizations, to provide sustainable and transitional services to people leaving incarceration that focus on community and family reintegration, building strength-based assets, and reducing recidivism, including reducing arrests, new charges, convictions for new offenses, as well as reincarceration. Through this solicitation, BJA seeks applications from organizations to build capability, and capacity in community-based reentry programs by serving as an intermediary and providing subawards. The Office of Justice Program is committed to advancing work that promotes civil rights and racial equity, increases access to justice; supports crime victims and individuals impacted by the justice system; strengthens community safety and protects the public from crime and evolving threats; builds trust between law enforcement and the community.
The Grants.gov deadlines for the Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative is June 20th, 2023, at 8:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. The JustGrants deadline for Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative is June 27th, 2023, at 8:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. Later on, we're going to discuss more about the two-prong approach for applying for this and many of BJA's OJP's initiatives.
And now, the Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiatives. Community and faith-based organizations, CBOs, provide critical reentry services for people returning from incarceration to their communities, yet many CBOs face significant barriers directly assessing and managing federal grants. BJA seeks to fund two intermediary organizations that will design and administer a competitive incubator initiative for community and faith-based reentry providers. These intermediary organizations will provide subawards, oversight, and comprehensive training and technical assistance services to help build capability, capacity, and sustainability amongst CBO subawardees to meet the needs of people returning home from incarceration and to apply for and manage private and public grant funding in the future.
Please note BJA is open to a range of models to be used by the intermediary organizations serving as fiscal agents. The organization may focus on CBOs in a particular city, region, or have a more national scope. These approaches should seek to build capacities that can be sustained by local or regional partners at the end of the project. The intermediary organizations are expected to competitively award subawards in collaboration with BJA and provide training and technical assistance support to the selected community-based organizations implementing new reentry programs or expanding existing programs.
Now, we're going to have a conversation about the subawards. The applicant should propose a pass-through amount for the subawardees, an administrative amount to be retained by the applicant, and an amount to contract and manage a process evaluation, if applicable. Again, let's do that again. Your proposal, should you decide to respond to this request for proposals, should include a pass-through amount for the subawardee, separately, an administrative amount to be retained by the applicant, as well as an amount to contract and manage and process evaluation, if applicable. BJA expects awardees to retain 30% of their budget to support their work as intermediaries and to pass the other 70% to competitively selected subawardees.
For example, if the applicant applies for the maximum amount of $4,000,000, BJA would expect the grantee to provide $2,800,000 to the subawardee. The subawards are expected to range between $50,000 and a max of $150,000. Applicants are encouraged to include plans and proposed criteria in their proposals for identifying and selecting the subrecipient—that means your proposal should feature some type of rubric. OJP must approve the application process, selection criteria, and selection of subrecipients suggested by the applicant. The process and design should recognize and serve the capacity limitations of smaller entities to apply for and administer grant funding and suggest methods to build capacity while also ensuring accountability to reach the desired program outcomes, while also proposing cost-effective approaches.
Subawards to community-based organizations may cover salary support; equipment, materials, training opportunities, and travel costs associated with the training and technical assistance; development of curricula, assessment tools, or organizational policies and procedures, such as wellness plans and things to support reentry service provider staff. And a little footnote here—in administering financial support to CBOs through subawards, intermediary organizations are responsible for ensuring that all funds are used appropriately according to the applicable accounting and financial management principles as set forth in a DOJ Grants Financial Guide. That means the grantee is responsible for how the subawardees use the funding and making sure they're using the funding for the most appropriate pieces of this particular program, and in accordance to the DOJ Grants Financial Guide.
So what are the goals of this program? Strengthen communities by providing technical assistance, subawards, and administrative oversight to subawardees. Improve organizational program and financial management outcomes for CBOs that are working with individuals in reentry, including enhancing recidivism reduction strategies. Another goal, elevate the voices of justice-impacted leaders to build awareness and educate policymakers on specific challenges and needs.
Now, we're going to go into some of the objectives for the Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiatives. Help subawardees develop strategies and partnerships that facilitate the implementation or enhancement of reentry programs at the local level by strengthening the operations to ultimately improve community reintegration and recidivism outcomes for people leaving incarceration and during their reentry. Build administrative, operational, and organizational capacity of subawardees to serve the target population effectively, including the use of comprehensive case
management plans that directly address criminogenic risk and needs, as identified by validated criminogenic risk assessments, and deliver or facilitate services in a manner consistent with participants' learning styles and abilities. Objective number three, provide technical assistance to improve collaboration between the CBOs and corrections, parole, probation, local reentry coalitions, other local reentry service providers, and stakeholders with a goal toward ensuring comprehensive and individualized reentry services while strengthening the ecosystem of reentry services in a given jurisdiction. Ensure the responsible and effective administration of subawards to selected CBOs.
Now, we're going to talk about Deliverables that are expected for applicants applying for the Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiatives. Develop technical assistance strategies and resources, from model policies, how to guide, brief training videos, et cetera, to assist in education about and improving CBO financial, operational, and program management, including program development and data collection and reporting. Liaise with other Office of Justice Programs-funded technical assistance providers to identify and use appropriate OJP-funded resources to meet the needs of reentry-focused subawards. The third deliverable, work with BJA-funded National Reentry Resource Center to ensure all cooperative agreement-funded resources and funding opportunities are made publicly available on a dedicated webpage for the CBO Capacity Development. In accordance with the corporate agreements with BJA, the successful awardees will partner with BJA to administer subawards to the CBOs for the purpose of building capacity and supporting reentry programming for people at moderate to high risk of recidivism who are leaving incarceration and during their reentry.
To accomplish this, successful applicants will undertake the following. You will assess the gaps in community-based organizational capacity. That means their financial, as well as the operational components, to implement individualized and case management driven reentry program. You will undertake developing, in collaboration with BJA, a solicitation for a request for proposals with agreed upon selection criteria and in accordance with state, local, and OJP regulations. Successful applicants will also develop and host in collaboration with BJA, a pre-application webinar for potential applicants to fully explain the purpose of the program, define allowable and unallowable costs, and describe the financial and programmatic reporting requirements. Also within the deliverables, conduct a CBO selection process in collaboration with and approval from BJA to identify and award the subawards. This process should ensure that each selected CBO meets the following criteria. Identify the case management and at least one additional reentry strategy for the employment-related services or housing assistance and planning to initiate, or that is already operational in the jurisdiction. The CBO clearly identifies the resources needed to support the reentry strategy and build capacity in that particular area. Demonstrate capacity and willingness to work collaboratively with the TTA providers, depending on the subject that the subawardeee will be working on.
Once the subawards are made, the two award recipients will then conduct meetings with the subawardees on a periodic basis, and memorialize the proceedings with meeting notes, transcripts, and/or recordings. Complete capacity needs assessment for each participating CBO and work with the CBO to prepare a capacity development plan that is tailored to its current capacity and resources. This includes building bandwidth for sustainability at the subaward and competency to access new funding. The Capacity Development Plan will guide the TTA provided by the two award recipients and it will be reviewed and updated as necessary during the project period. The two award recipients will also work with every subawardee to build capacity for ensuring participants' criminogenic needs are met and that the strength-based services and outcomes are provided and captured. The two award recipients will also conduct regional and/or topical meetings for the subawards on common issue areas. These meetings should include existing subject matter experts and material from DOJ programs and initiatives. Also within the deliverables provide content to the National Reentry Resource Center to post online for subawardees and other interested parties to search and access any knowledge product that includes report, research briefs, webinars, or podcast created by the two award recipients and other relevant existing knowledge products related to reentry service provision.
Lastly, on deliverables, the two awardees would submit a final process evaluation report that includes a clear summary description of the reentry services supported by the subawards, an assessment of their ability to identify and serve people in reentry at moderate to high risk of recidivism, and/or service capacity enhancement outcomes, identification of promising or effective practices. Lessons learned and challenges encountered. Recommendations for future program capacity development. This report should emphasize an evidence-informed assessment framework that is attentive to the contextual factors at the participating CBOs.
Now we're going to jump into some of the priority considerations that have been listed in the particular solicitation for Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative. Priority Considerations Supporting Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. There is a host of requirements that go along with priority consideration. Should you decide as an applicant to pursue those priority considerations, read them in full detail, and in a separate attachment, address those particular priority considerations.
Separate from the priority of consideration issued by the Office of Justice Programs, there is an additional statutory priority consideration. So, as articulated in the Second Chance Act, priority consideration will be given to applications that provide for an independent process evaluation. Again, to receive priority consideration, applicants must specify in the proposal narrative how they will address the priority consideration. Adjusting these priority areas is one of many factors that OJP considers in making future decisions and funding decisions. Receiving priority consideration for one or more priority area does not guarantee an award.
And now we've reached our final section, which talks about additional information. There are dual deadlines. I alluded to a Grants.gov deadline and a JustGrants deadline. This is just a gentle reminder as already stated in the solicitation for Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative. Grants.gov deadline will be June 20th, 2023, at 8:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and separately, the JustGrants deadline will be June 28, 2023, at 8:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. As a starter, DOJ has an application submission checklist. I encourage any and all applicants who are considering applying for Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative to consult the DOJ application submission checklist.
A gentle reminder regarding the content of application submission. So, there are critical elements, such as the Federal Assistance standard form, which is the SF-424. Of course, the Proposal Abstract, the Proposal Narrative, the Budget Worksheet and Budget Narrative, there are now web-based forms for that, as well as an MOU with the correctional agency. Then there's requirements regarding Budget and Associated Documentation, such as Indirect Cost Rate Agreement, if that's applicable, financial Management and Systems of Internal Controls Questionnaire, as well as the Disclosure of Process Related to Executive Compensation, if applicable. Other additional application components include Tribal Authorizing Resolutions, if applicable, Research and Evaluation, Independence and Integrity statements. Request and Justification for Employee Compensation, whether or not that requires a waiver if it's applying to you. Then there's a general sense of Disclosure and Assurances that go with all OJP programs and applications for their programs.
Now specific to the Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative, there is that review criteria. The description of the issue will be 15%. The project design and implementation will be weighted the most at 35%. Capabilities and competencies come in at 25%. The applicants plan for collecting the data required for the solicitations performance measures are at 15%. And lastly, your budget will be weighed in at 10%.
Other important considerations for BJA include geographic diversity, strategic priorities, available funding, your past performance on previously awarded OJP awards, and the extent to which the budget worksheet and budget narrative, which are both web-based forms, accurately explains project costs that are reasonable, necessary, and otherwise allowable under federal law and applicable federal costs principles.
Again, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Program provides an OJP Grant Application Resource Guide. Check us out, www.ojp.gov. All that information is available for you.
For application assistance, if you're experiencing issues with Grants.gov, there is a Customer Support Hotline, as well as an email that is separate from the JustGrants technical support. We also supply the customer support hotline for JustGrants technical support as well as email should you have issues with applying. Just remember, there are two different systems with two different deadlines.
Should you have any particular questions about this particular solicitation, or any solicitation, please email or call toll free the Office of Justice Programs Response Center. In addition, we provide for JUSTINFO newsletter, which is just a weekly newsletter that provides Funding News. Feel free to subscribe again, pointing you to www.ojp.gov.
Seems like we're boring you, but we really want you to know there are two deadlines. Step 1, submit an SF-424 as well as SF-LLL at Grants.gov. Separately, submit the full application with attachment at JustGrants.usdoj.gov. Also serving as a gentle reminder that the timeframe for submitting on deadline dates is no longer 11:59 p.m. as it was in previous years. It is now 8:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
And again, a list of recommended resources on the web, things that were quoted in my conversation, some things that may have not come out during this solicitation webinar, but definitely all useful as you start to build your proposal for the Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative.
This slide is just showing that you can text OJP your email address to subscribe, as well as looking at BJA through our social media channels. And certainly for information on funding opportunities, publications, and the initiative, visit us at the BJA website, bja.ojp.gov.
This slide serves as a quick reference, some important contacts. Again, Grants.gov, hotline, as well as an email that is separate from JustGrants, which has its own technical support. We provide a number as well as an email for that, all that's included in the solicitation for Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative, as well as any and all questions should be sent to the OJP Response Center. We provide the number, as well as the email for that resource.
Again, Second Act Chance solicitations, like all other BJA funding, is available at bja.ojp.gov. Under the funding/current funding, applications deadlines vary, so make sure you read each solicitation closely.
That concludes this solicitation webinar for Second Chance Act Community-based Reentry Incubator Initiative. If you have a host of questions or series of questions or just any questions, again, all questions should be submitted through the OJP Response Center. Thank you so much to each and every one of you for joining us. Thanks to you and look forward to your proposal submission. Take care, everyone.
Opinions or points of view expressed in these recordings represent those of the speakers and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. Any commercial products and manufacturers discussed in these recordings are presented for informational purposes only and do not constitute product approval or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Justice.