Problematic Behavior or Activity
In the past, Lincoln County Parole and Probation Department staffed its transition program with one full-time probation officer (PO). This PO oversaw a mixed caseload of offenders who were going to be released into the community, as well as offenders who had recently been released. Although the PO was able to coordinate among treatment providers, the offender, and the release counselor, the officer did not have sufficient capacity to develop detailed case plans prior to release or to follow through on the case plan after release. Critically, Lincoln County has limited housing resources for offenders transitioning back into the community.
Impact on the Community
Jail-bed usage was high in Lincoln County, with little in the way of transitional housing and only basic transition services available to people upon their release. Individuals who transitioned into the community often did not have stable housing, access to appropriate services, or adequate supervision.
Lincoln County’s Transition and Programming Services (TAPS) expanded the County’s transition program in the following ways:
- The Transition PO provides reach-ins while the offender is incarcerated, determines the level of assistance needed, and develops an individually tailored case plan to address people’s specific needs.
- Additional programming is available to recently released offenders to increase their chance of success in the community.
- The Transition PO retains the offender on his or her caseload for six months to one year. Once supervisees have met program benchmarks, they are transferred to a PO with a regular caseload. The transition PO works with the new PO to ensure coordination of efforts.
- Lincoln County provides transitional housing, which includes wraparound services specifically tailored to each individual. Wraparound services include treatment of co-occurring disorders, anger management, nonviolence education, substance use disorder treatment, mental health treatment, sex offender treatment, and other services for identified needs.
- The program provides transportation and job-development assistance.
- Two part-time PO technicians monitor and assist offenders at the transitional living facility.
Based on Research
Best practices in a jail reentry program require prompt identification of needs and detailed transition planning. Reach-ins to jail, continuity of care, and identifying and connecting the offender to resources in the community are aspects of best practices. Once offenders are released, the monitoring of their efforts to engage in services is the top priority. It is of great benefit when the PO who developed the case plan monitors the supervisee’s efforts in the community.
This program is funded by a $514,208 grant through the state’s 2015-2017 Justice Reinvestment Grant Program. The grant supports one additional full-time transition PO, two part-time PO technicians, a portion of the salary of a mental health technician, utilities and household items for transitional housing, and bus passes.
Proposed outcomes include:
- increasing the transitional leave beds by up to 20;
- decreased use of jail beds;
- reduced recidivism in Lincoln County;
- fewer homeless offenders;
- more offenders obtaining needed services; and
- increased employment rate among offenders
Critical Success Factors
This program is in early implementation; it is too soon to identify the factors critical to its success.
This program is in early implementation; it is too soon to provide advice.