PROBLEMATIC BEHAVIOR OR ACTIVITY
Offenders under supervision in Polk County are often in need of basic services, including housing, employment, transportation to treatment, and health care. Issues with cross-communication between department personnel and outside agency representatives can lead to a delay in offenders accessing the services they need. Employment opportunities and transitional housing for offenders are also limited in Polk County.
IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
When offenders are unable to meet their basic needs for housing, employment, transportation, and health care, they are more likely to commit crimes. This results in increased victimization and greater utilization of custody beds, at a cost to the county and state.
The Transition Services Specialist acts as a service broker for medium- and high-risk felony offenders supervised by Polk County Community Corrections. The specialist meets with eligible offenders the same day they are sentenced, to avoid significant delays in service delivery. The specialist then serves as the single point of contact to help the offender sign up for the Oregon Health Plan, obtain employment and housing, get transportation to scheduled treatment groups, commit to an exercise plan, and meet other basic needs. The specialist also works to establish partnerships with local employers who are willing to offer temporary job placement for 30 days and full-time employment thereafter. The employer and the county split the cost of the offender’s first month’s wages.
This program is funded by a $219,870 grant through the state’s 2015-17 Justice Reinvestment Grant Program. This grant supports a specialist position, rent subsidies, and a public-private job-placement subsidy partnership.
Proposed outcomes include:
- More offenders working with a specialist will become employed, obtain approved housing, and enroll in and attend treatment as scheduled.
- More offenders working with a specialist will commit to a physical exercise program.
- Participants will miss fewer treatment meetings.
- Fewer offenders will be sanctioned to jail or returned to court for probation violations.