PROBLEMATIC BEHAVIOR OR ACTIVITY
An average of 40 to 60 inmates are released from Oregon state prisons and return to Lane County every month. Upon release, approximately 50 percent are homeless and 90 percent are indigent and unemployed. Many have no personal supports, such as close family and friends. And most have no place to live, no money, no identification, and no source of immediate food—and not only do they lack a job, but often work experience as well.
As of June 2015, Lane County Parole and Probation supervised 2,682 people:39 percent were placed on a high supervision level, 30 percent on medium level, and 27 percent on low supervision level. Lane County’s recidivism rate is substantially higher than the statewide recidivism rate, defined as incarceration for a new felony crime within three years of the imposition of probation.
IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
Unless increased attention and resources are directed toward the population returning to Lane County from state prison, the county will continue to have disproportionately high recidivism rates. These high rates of recidivism put a strain on the prison population and personnel, due to the high volume of people being re-incarcerated, and increase risks to the public safety of Lane County residents.
The Lane County Reentry Program is a partnership between Sponsors, Inc. (a nonprofit providing transitional housing and employment opportunities to people returning to Lane County from Oregon jails and prisons), the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC), Lane County Parole and Probation, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, and several community-based programs.
The Reentry Program consists of the following:
Pre-release services: Most inmates serve their last six months at DOC releasing institutions. Sponsors, Inc. delivers reach-in services at DOC facilities beginning three to six months before each offender’s release date. The reach-in team comprises the men’s and women’s program directors, the mentorship program pre-release case manager, the director of the reentry resource center, and a Lane County parole officer. The reach-in team meets with inmates who meet program criteria, provides orientations, and completes a Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI) assessments. For anyone being released from prisons that are more than a couple of hours from Eugene, the reach-in team meets with the individual through videoconferencing to accomplish the same goals. The DOC provides Sponsors with a monthly report that lists all inmates being released to Lane County in the next two years. The report lists release date, current offense(s), institution location, LS/CMI score, veteran status, and identified mental health needs. Sponsors uses this information to place the inmate on “call-out” when the team visits facilities, to ensure that all inmates returning to Lane County are aware of the reentry services available. By having multiple staff from various programs in the room, inmates have the opportunity to get their questions answered.
Post-release services: Clients meet with Sponsors the day they are released from prison. Staff administer a new LS/CMI within 72 hours and a case manager works with the inmate to develop a reintegration case plan. Staff use multiple assessments, as well as the reintegration plan and resource referral form, to drive service delivery. Sponsors provides housing, clothing, food, and case management services. Case managers assist clients in obtaining identification, food stamps, legal support, health and dental care, and/or Social Security disability benefits.
One-stop Reentry Resource Center (RRC): The RRC provides job development support, links and referrals to education, legal support, and life skills, including financial training, cognitive behavioral therapy, on-site mental health and substance use treatment, family counseling, mentoring, and long-term housing.
BASED ON RESEARCH
The Reentry Program uses a variety of best practices and validated assessment tools, including the following:
- Motivational interviewing
- University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Scale (URICA)
- Risk-Needs-Responsivity (RNR) Simulation Tool
- Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT)
This program is funded by a $935,855 grant through the state’s 2015-2017 Justice Reinvestment Grant Program. The grant supports transitional housing that include reentry services; three beds in a women’s program; funding for employment services, mentorship, MRT, Identification, bus passes, and crisis fund. In addition, matching funds are designated for the completion of the Oaks at 14th, a long-term, affordable 54- unit housing development.
Proposed outcomes of the Reentry Program include the following::
- Provide core reentry services to 124 men and 30 women
- Provide Short-Term Transitional Leave reentry services to 24 to 36 inmates who are released early from DOC;
- Provide reentry services to 40 people who completed treatment in DOC facilities; and
- Complete the Oaks at 14th housing project to provide affordable long-term housing for 54 male clients.