Skip Navigation
State of Montana Website
Welcome to Gallatin County
Gallatin County Home
Big Sky
Four Corners
Gallatin Gateway
Three Forks
This table is used for column layout.

Job Openings

Gallatin County Reentry Task Force
December 13, 2018  Every Second - The Impact of the Incarceration Crisis on America's Families The research presented in this report provides our first look at the full range of family incarceration, and it is staggering. 1 out of every 2 adults in the United States (113 million people) has lived through some version of what I lived through: a parent known in snatches of visits, a brother or sister missing, a child locked away. 1 in 7 adults has had a close family member spend more than one year in jail or prison— over 35 million people.

November 30, 2018  Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder: Proceedings of a Workshop in Brief The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine. On October 30 and 31, 2018, the Committee on Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) held a 1.5-day workshop in Washington, DC. To support the dissemination of accurate patient-focused information about treatments for opioid use disorder, and to help provide scientific solutions to the current opioid crisis, an ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was created to conduct a study of the evidence base on Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). The committee was asked to review the current knowledge and gaps in understanding regarding the effectiveness of MAT for treating OUD, examine the available evidence on the range of parameters and circumstances in which MAT can be effectively delivered, and identify challenges in implementation. The public workshop was designed to bring the committee together with a wide range of clinicians, academic experts, policy makers, and representatives of affected individuals and family members for a full discussion of the current initiatives related to MAT, existing evidence and research gaps, and barriers that discourage access to and use of MAT.

November 28, 2018  Federal Court in Massachusetts Orders Jail to Provide Methadone Legal Action Center. A federal court in Massachusetts granted a preliminary injunction this week, requiring that the Plaintiff in the case be provided continued access to methadone treatment for his opioid use disorder while incarcerated. The Legal Action Center applauds this important decision, and commends the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts on their ruling, which requires a jail in Essex County, MA to provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to a man who is about to be sentenced for conduct that occurred two years ago, before he first started his recovery. The Court asserted that the Plaintiff is likely to succeed on his claim that the jail’s refusal to provide methadone treatment violates both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

October 24, 2018  Pennsylvania County Pays Teen's Family Nearly $5M Over Heroin Withdrawal Death in Jail By Maryclaire Dale. A small Pennsylvania county will pay nearly $5 million to the family of a teenager who collapsed and died after four days of heroin withdrawal in jail. The family's lawyer said jail staff ignored her dire medical needs for days and then lied about it. Victoria "Tori" Herr, 18, was arrested for the first time on March 27, 2015, after police looking for her boyfriend found drugs in their apartment. Herr told intake staff at the Lebanon County Correctional Facility she used 10 bags of heroin a day, and confided to a cellmate that she feared the withdrawal process would be tough. She went through severe bouts of vomiting and diarrhea over the next four days, and was given Ensure, water and adult diapers, according to the lawsuit. But she could not keep the fluids down and collapsed of apparent dehydration as she was being brought back to her cell from the medical unit on March 31. She died in a hospital on April 5.

October 1, 2018  Global Prison Seminaries Foundation  (GPSF), founded in 2016, is a moral rehabilitation prison intervention program with a mission to create transformational opportunities that support prosocial change in every inmate. GPSF achieves its mission by working with state departments of correction and institutions of higher education. GPSF was birthed out of former Warden Burl Cain’s experience at Angola (Louisiana State Penitentiary). Angola, once known as the bloodiest prison in America, is now one of the safest and most peaceful prisons in the country. This transformation came about with what is now known as the Prison Seminary Model. Moral rehabilitation is facilitated and encouraged through providing a robust theological education of inmates with fairly long sentences in the form of a four-year accredited degree program. The inmate graduates are then utilized as peer ministers within the prison. Burl Cain desires to see every state prison system experience a cultural change and become a channel for moral rehabilitation. After helping numerous prison seminaries start up while serving as the Angola warden, he retired in 2016 and launched GPSF in order to dedicate concentrated time and resources to prison seminaries. As of October 1, 2018, GPSF has assisted with the implementation of the Prison Seminary Model in 19 states. Angola Prison – Finding Real Freedom – YouTube (5:10 min)

October 1, 2018  Meet Edovo 76.6 percent of previously incarcerated people will return to prison within five years. A variety of constraints on both correctional facilities and their populations often limit an inmate’s ability to have a meaningful rehabilitation. The team at Edovo want to change that. Here’s how: Edovo’s mission is to provide inmates with access to education, communication and self-improvement tools. It does this by introducing secure wireless networks and tablets to prisons and jails. This makes it possible for inmates to invest in their own development and prepare for a life after prison. It also fosters a culture of rehabilitation while providing jails with tools to streamline operations and engage and motivate incarcerated individuals. Edovo works directly with state and county governments, and currently to bring their platform to approximately 100 jails and prisons. Once a platform is in place, Edovo runs the networks and produces the hardware, the software and the content for it. Brian Hill and the team at Edovo believe that their product can help unlock the potential of every person affected by incarceration, and can help facilitate better overall outcomes and lower rates of recidivism throughout the U.S.

September 26, 2018  Set Up to Fail: Montana's Probation and Parole System In Montana, hundreds of people—462 people in 2017—are incarcerated each year for technical or compliance violations of probation or parole. State research demonstrates that most of these individuals are returning to custody not because they’ve committed a new crime, but because they broke a rule of their supervision. ACLU research, conducted between November 2017 and March 2018, suggests that the primary reason for which people are unsuccessful on community supervision is a combination of unmet treatment needs (for substance abuse and mental health in particular) and unmanageable costs associated with supervision requirements. Instead of being an alternative to custody, community supervision (probation and parole) in Montana is actually a significant feeder of incarceration.

August 16, 2018  Achieving Credit Strength: A Toolkit for Supporting Returning Citizen Entrepreneurs Credit Builders Alliance (CBA), 2018. The primary purpose of this toolkit is to help create a common language and easy-to-use resource for practitioners offering credit building services to returning citizens who are aspiring (pre-startup, startup) entrepreneurs or who have started but still have fledgling businesses. Many aspects of this toolkit are also relevant to the credit building efforts of returning citizens more generally. Acknowledging that many of the challenges faced by returning citizens extend well past the first years post-release when the most comprehensive support is often provided, we welcome all members of the formerly incarcerated population to use this toolkit as any point throughout their journey. We also hope that this toolkit will be useful to groups supporting returning citizens in other capacities, if nothing else to plant the importance of credit building in the process of building financial health.

July 30, 2018  Implementing Opioid Agonist Treatment in Correctional Facilities JAMA Internal Medicine. Every year, 1 in 3 of the 2 million people with opioid use disorder in the United States is arrested.1 It follows that correctional facilities, that is, detention centers, jails, and prisons, have important roles in engaging people with opioid use disorder in effective treatment. Opioid agonist therapy with methadone hydrochloride, a full opioid agonist, or buprenorphine hydrochloride, a partial agonist, effectively treats opioid use disorder and reduces mortality.2 There is no comparable evidence for reduced mortality with naltrexone hydrochloride, an extended-release, full opioid antagonist also approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of opioid use disorder. Yet opioid agonist treatment is used infrequently in correctional facilities.3 What steps must be taken to change the situation?

July 30, 2018  The Unseen Provider: Healthcare in Our Jails Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). This is a short documentary (8.36 min) that explores the great potential health information exchange (HIE) presents to correctional institutions wanting to achieve continuity of care with community providers. It features Dr. Farzad Mostashari, former National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and Dr. Jeffery Brenner, Director and Founder of Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.

July 24, 2018  The true cost of "no-cost" prison tablet contracts By Wanda Bertram and Peter Wagner, Prison Policy Initiative. If someone offered you a free computer, you’d rightly be suspicious that there were strings attached. So when private companies offer “free” tablets to incarcerated people, politicians are understandably skeptical, looking for hidden costs to the state. But in their quest for an answer, politicians will often fail, as we saw in New York State earlier this year. Private company JPay signed a contract with the New York Department of Corrections to give free tablets to 52,000 incarcerated people. Facing questions from legislators, the department insisted – truthfully – that taxpayers wouldn’t pay a dime. Legislators dropped the issue without asking the bigger question: What would motivate a company to give away 52,000 tablet computers for free?
We filed a public records request, and got a more complete answer: The 52,000 “free” tablets are part of a package deal (or “bundled contract”) of several JPay services that gouge incarcerated people and their families.

July 22, 2018  Pets in Indiana prison provide second chance to animals and offenders By Kate Springer, A program at the Madison Correctional Facility in Indiana is giving women behind bars and animals hope for a second chance. ADOPT stands for "A Dog on Prison Turf." The program at the Madison Correctional Facility in Indiana takes in dogs and cats with behavior problems, that would otherwise be euthanized. The offenders and the animals were each facing isolation and rejection, and are now giving each other hope. About 40 women participate in the program, which began a few years ago. They're matched with an animal who then lives with them in their bunks. The inmates are responsible for their care, including feeding, grooming, housebreaking and obedience training.

July 12, 2018  Dying Inside: Grappling with a string of suicides in the Spokane County Jail By Mitch Ryals, The Pacific Northwest Inlander.  Megan Flynn recognizes the two black starts tattooed on the chest of the man she's trying to save. The 44-year-old nurse is on the floor outside of cell 5W28 in the Spokane County Jail. She's come to relieve the guards who began resuscitating the man they found hanging by a bedsheet alone in his cell. Flynn quickly pushes the tattoos' familiarity from her mind and begins pumping oxygen into the man's lungs as she has for others who've tried to end their lives behind these bars. Eventually an ambulance arrives and medics take over, while Flynn goes to fill out paperwork. Only then does she realize that her two worlds — family and work — have just collided. The nurse asks for the man's name. "Flynn," someone tells her. And the first name? "Patrick." "That's my brother," Flynn says.

July 9, 2018  State Prisons Fail To Offer Cure To 144,000 Inmates With Deadly Hepatitis C By Siraphob Thanthong-Knight, Kaiser Health News. State prisons across the U.S. are failing to treat at least 144,000 inmates who have hepatitis C, a curable but potentially fatal liver disease, according to a recent survey and subsequent interviews of state corrections departments. Many of the 49 states that responded to questions about inmates with hepatitis C cited high drug prices as the reason for denying treatment. The drugs can cost up to $90,000 for a course of treatment. Nationwide, roughly 97 percent of inmates with hepatitis C are not getting the cure, according to the survey conducted for a master’s project at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Advocates say this ignores a 1976 Supreme Court ruling that determined an inmate’s medical care is a constitutional right.

July 2, 2018  Jails and prisons are truly the unmanned front in the battle against the opioid epidemic in the US By Brian Barnett, STAT. If you have type 1 diabetes and wind up behind bars, you’ll get the insulin injections needed to control your blood sugar. If you don’t, there will be public outrage over this violation of your human rights. But if you have an opioid addiction — like type 1 diabetes, a disease that could rob you of your life — and are taking an opioid agonist medication like buprenorphine or methadone to stay sober, it’s virtually guaranteed it will be stopped the day you step foot inside your cell. Over the next few days you’ll go through a brutal withdrawal and your risk of relapsing will soar. Once you’re released, there’s a good chance you’ll use opioids almost immediately, along with the possibility that you’ll accidentally overdose and die. This barbaric practice happens across the country every day. As an addiction psychiatrist, I’ve heard horror stories from patients who’ve been through it, most recently my patient Shawn (I’ve changed his name for privacy).

May 29, 2018  They're Out of Prison. Can They Stay Out of the Hospital? By Patricia Leigh Brown, The New York Times. SAN FRANCISCO — The night Ronald Sanders turned his life around, he had been smoking crack for two days in a tiny, airless room. His infant son, Isaiah, was breathing in the fumes. “His chest was beating really hard,” Mr. Sanders recalled. “So I pray: ‘If my son makes it through the night, that’s it.’” Mr. Sanders quit using drugs and stopped cycling in and out of prison more than two decades ago. He is now a community health worker who helps people getting out of prison deal with a host of medical, psychiatric and substance abuse disorders. As the country tries to shrink its aging prison population, the inmates being released after years locked away often have mental illnesses and addictions that can land them back in prison if untreated. Mr. Sanders and other former prisoners are central players in an approach to helping these men and women that is expanding in California and North Carolina, among other states. By year’s end, Los Angeles County plans to have hired 220 such workers to help released inmates navigate life outside.

Leaving a jail or prison is a particularly risky time for opioid users, due to lower tolerance and the increased prevalence of fentanyl. Drug use is concentrated in the corrections population. At least a quarter of the nearly 2.3 million Americans currently incarcerated are addicted to opioids. Between a quarter and one-third of the nation’s heroin users pass through correctional facilities each year. And their eventual release to the community is a time of high vulnerability. According to the 2016 Massachusetts opioid death assessment, former inmates were 56 times more likely to fatally overdose within a year after release than members of the general population. A 2014 report from the World Health Organization found ratios of overdose deaths ranged from eight- to 129-fold within two weeks of release. This is not surprising—thrust back into society, people newly released are at high risk for resuming heroin. There are two factors that make this resumption deadlier: Their tolerance to opioids has likely dissipated over their time behind bars, and the heroin supply is currently dramatically more dangerous because it is tainted with fentanyl, which is 50 times more potent than heroin. Combine these, and the risk of fatal overdose after release is greatly elevated.

March 9, 2018  CBS News 60 Minutes  60 Minutes Presents: Behind Bars.  Not many issues can unite Democrats and Republicans. But criminal justice reform is one of them. After thirty years of being Tough on Crime in the U.S., no other nation incarcerates more of its citizens than we do. We have 5 percent of the world's population, but 25 percent of its prisoners. The cost of housing all those inmates: $80 billion a year. As we first reported in 2016, American politicians and prison supervisors are looking for new ideas - in Germany.  The main objective of German prisons is rehabilitation, not retribution. Germany spends less money on prisons, but gets better results. Their recidivism rate is about half the U.S. rate. We wondered if Germany had found a key to prison reform.  So we visited three German prisons, but our trip started in a small resort town about 100 miles north of Berlin.

March 7, 2018  Executive Order - Federal Interacgency Council on Crime Prevention and Improving Reentry  By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to maximize the impact of Federal Government resources to keep our communities safe, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1Purpose.  The Federal Government must reduce crime, enhance public safety, and increase opportunity, thereby improving the lives of all Americans.  In 2016, the violent crime rate in the United States increased by 3.4 percent, the largest single-year increase since 1991.  Additionally, in 2016, there were more than 17,000 murders and nonnegligent manslaughters in the United States, a more than 20 percent increase in just 2 years.  The Department of Justice, alongside State, local, and tribal law enforcement, has focused its efforts on the most violent criminals.  Preliminary statistics indicate that, in the last year, the increase in the murder rate slowed and the violent crime rate decreased. (Click on link for remainder of Executive Order)

March 6, 2018  Inmate Use of Computer Tablets in Pima County Allowing inmates to use tablet computers in the Pima County, Ariz., correctional facility has helped improve safety for both inmates and staff while providing access to life skills training and contact with family, according to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. The Pima County Adult Detention Center in Tucson houses between 1,800 and 2,000 inmates at any given time. The sheriff’s department had a six-month pilot tablet program that began in December 2015, after which tablets were given to every inmate. Suicides, inmate-on-inmate fights and inmate altercations with correctional staff have all declined by at least 50 percent since tablet use was instituted, and the overall jail environment has improved. The sheriff’s department compared statistics during a 12-month period prior to distributing tablets with the 12-month period after tablets were distributed. “You just walk about the jail and you don’t feel that tension; it’s palpable,” Stewart says.

February, 1, 2018  In New York, all 51,000 New York state prisoners will get tablet computers By Ellie Kaufman, CNN  Inmates in New York state prisons will soon be able to read e-books, listen to music and email family members while in prison -- all from their own tablet computers. The New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision entered into a deal with JPay that will provide all New York state prison inmates with a tablet. JPay is a company that provides technology and services that help those who are incarcerated stay connected with people outside prison, according to the company's website. Other states have recently implemented similar programs. Both Georgia and Colorado have started programs that provide inmates with tablets.

September 26, 2017  Prison Congregations of America The story of how Prison Congregations of America works with Mainline Denominations, Prison Pastors, State Departments of Corrections/Prisons, Prison Wardens, and Prison Chaplains to establish organized Congregations within prison walls. These congregations have their own Pastor who's only duty is to that specific congregation. Churches on the "outside" support the congregation on the "inside" and members of each are renewed.

August 2017  A Roadmap to Behavioral Health - A Guide to Using Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services This guide is a joint effort of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The guide adds to the eight steps of the Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You. Behavioral health is a key part of a person’s overall health. It is just as important as physical health. It includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Behavioral health conditions include mental and substance use disorders. In the United States, 1 in 5 adults are living with a mental disorder and 1 in 10 adults are living with a substance use disorder.
  • Mental disorders - involve changes in thinking, mood, and/or behavior that may occur often, or less often.
  • Substance use disorders - occur when the use of alcohol and/or drugs (like opioids or tobacco) causes health problems or a disability. A person may not keep up with work, school, or home tasks.
  • Co-occurring disorders - usually means a person has both a mental and substance use disorder.
  • Co-existing disorders - usually means a person has both a behavioral and physical health condition.

August 2017  Closing the Distance: The Impact of Video Visits in Washington State Prisons Vera Institue of Justice. The current study examines the impact of video visiting in Washington on incarcerated people’s in-prison behavior and analyzes their experience of the service. The principle finding was that using the service had a positive impact on the number of in-person visits the video visit users received. In at least one significant sense, the findings follow what we know about the digital divide: Younger people tended to adopt the new technology more than older people. And video visit users also had the most in-person visits both before and after introduction of the service, suggesting that those with strong social bonds tend to sustain them in as many ways as possible. Vera’s researchers found no significant correlation between video visiting and people’s in-prison behavior, as measured by the number of infractions they committed during the period under study. Overall, the analysis drew a sobering big picture: Nearly half of the people in Washington’s prisons do not have visitors of any kind. And those who do don’t have many. One factor was constant across sub-groups: The distance from home had a negative effect on visiting.

June 2017  Out of Sight: The Growth of Jails in Rural America This report is one of a series that the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) is releasing with the Safety and Justice Challenge—the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s initiative to reduce overincarceration by changing the way America thinks about and uses jails. The initiative is supporting a network of competitively selected local jurisdictions committed to finding ways to safely reduce jail incarceration. Other publications in the series to date include Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America, The Price of Jails: Measuring the Taxpayer Cost of Local Incarceration, and Overlooked: Women and Jails in an Era of Reform, as well as a multimedia storytelling project, The Human Toll of Jail. While this report explores some of the factors that may explain the growing rurality of jail incarceration, further empirical investigations are needed to fully understand, and thus remedy, this trend. Since there is likely much variation in jail population drivers, and thus variety in local incarceration trends even among small and rural counties, parsing out distinctions among them will be vital in helping smaller jurisdictions formulate solutions that can be appropriately tailored to their specific circumstances.

June 27, 2017  Mentoring as a Component of Reentry: Practical Considerations from the Field the National Reentry Resource Center. With the support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, the National Reentry Resource Center (NRRC) has worked with researchers, practitioners, correctional officials, and more than 150 organizations that have been awarded Second Chance Act mentoring grants. Through this work, the NRRC has identified five broad, field-based considerations for incorporating mentoring into reentry programming. Each section of this publication is intended to serve as a building block for reentry programs that are currently using or contemplating using mentors for an adult population. This publication also offers questions and considerations for practitioners, researchers, and policymakers that will likely be informed by further research in this emerging field. Although the primary audience for this publication is community-based organizations that incorporate adult mentoring into their portfolio of reentry programming, other readers—such as correctional agencies or legislative officials—may use this publication to gain a better understanding of the components of adult reentry mentoring. Every jurisdiction is unique, and the manner in which the practices described in this publication are implemented will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Readers are encouraged to consider the approaches or challenges that are presented within each section of this publication based on the dynamics of their particular locality.

May 26, 207  The Price of Prisons: Examining State Spending Trends, 2010-2015 Vera Institute of Justice, May 2017. Although rising pension costs and political resistance to prison closures in some states prevented savings even when correctional populations declined, more than half of states with declining prison populations are making good on the promise of smaller prison budgets as well. Since 2010, 23 states have reduced the size of their prison populations. Vera’s research found that 13 of these states have saved considerably in taxpayer money — $1.6 billion — at the same time. While simultaneously downsizing prison populations and spending is easier said than done, these 13 states prove that it is indeed possible. For those who are up to the challenge, this report makes it plain that a large sum of money is on the table.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, December 2016. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a federal government agency focused on making markets for consumer financial products and services work for consumers. The Office of Financial Empowerment works to empower low-income and economically vulnerable consumers to make informed financial decisions by providing them with tools, information, and opportunities to build skills in financial decision-making and by promoting a more inclusive and fair financial marketplace. The Office of Financial Empowerment developed the Your Money, Your Goals (YMYG) financial empowerment toolkit to provide organizations and individuals with high quality, unbiased financial information and tools to help them better address financial issues. The Focus on Reentry companion guide is designed to complement the Your Money, Your Goals toolkit in ways that can help address the unique financial challenges facing individuals pre- and post–release from incarceration.

May 24, 2017  Your Money, Your Goals: A financial empowerment toolkit Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, December 2016. This toolkit is designed for anyone who works directly with low-income or economically vulnerable people in a wide range of organizations and on a broad range of issues. Users of this toolkit may have different titles, but generally they come from non-profit, community-based, or private sector organizations or city, county, or tribal government agencies, and are generally responsible for working with people to: a) Conduct needs assessments; b) Develop action plans; C) Provide resources and referrals needed to implement action plans: and, Monitor progress and evaluate results.

April 25, 2017  Guidelines for Successful Transition of People with Mental or Substance Use Disorders from Jail and Prion: Implementation Guide  SAMHSA. The purpose of this guide is to provide behavioral health, correctional, and community stakeholders with examples of the implementation of successful strategies for transitioning people with mental or substance use disorders from institutional correctional settings into the community. The guide is intended to promote jurisdictional implementation of the Access, Plan, Identify & Coordinate (APIC) Guidelines through the identification and description of various jurisdictional strategies that have been adopted in efforts to facilitate successful community reentry for justice-involved people with mental and co-occurring substance use disorders.

March 20, 2017  Speaker Bryan Stevenson American College of Trial Lawyers Brian Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, spoke to the American College of Lawyers  at the 2017 Spring Meeting in Boca Raton, FL.

February 23, 2017  Medicaid Coverage and County Jails - Understanding Challenges and Opportunities for Improving Health Outcomes for Justice-Involved Individuals National Association of Counties (NACo). In order to educate federal policymakers on issues around Medicaid and justice-involved individuals, NACo recently released this new report. Congress should pass legislation to ease and/ or undo the federal Medicaid inmate exclusion and require states to suspend, instead of terminate, Medicaid coverage for justiceinvolved individuals. Further, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should exercise their existing authority to provide additional state flexibility in the Medicaid program to cover justice-involved individuals. NACo, along with the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors, is urging HHS to use its waiver authority under the Medicaid statute to allow Medicaid reimbursement for certain services or inmates in county jails, such as:
• Identifying patients in county jails who are receiving community-based care and then maintaining their treatment protocols;
• Developing treatment and continuity of care plans for released or diverted individuals;
• Initiating medication-assisted therapy or other forms of medically necessary and appropriate intervention for jailed individuals with opiate addiction whose release is anticipated within 7 to 10 days; and
• Reimbursing peer counselors to facilitate reentry and increase jailed individuals’ health literacy.

February 8, 2017  How Many Americans Are Unnecessarily Incarcerated? The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. "Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. prison population — 576,000 people — are behind bars with no compelling public safety reason, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. The first-of-its-kind analysis provides a blueprint for how the country can drastically cut its prison population while still keeping crime rates near historic lows." Sections cover: the current prison population; time served in prison today; ending prison for lower-level crimes; reducing time served for other crimes; and recommendations and cost savings. SOURCE: New York University. School of Law. Brennan Center for Justice (New York, NY). Authored by Eisen, Lauren-Brooke "L.B."; Austin, James; Cullen, James; Frank, Jonathan; Chettiar, Inimai M.

January 19, 2017  Exit Right U.S. Department of Justice.  Daryl Atkinson, the Second Chance Fellow at the U.S. Department of Justice, has posted a new video to YouTube that includes his voice and quite a number of other formerly incarcerated individuals speaking to persons preparing for reentry. The message is essentially -- "We made it and you can too." It is about 15 minutes long and includes a good diversity of persons. Some of the speakers are shown at their job sites. Speakers repeatedly urge the still incarcerated to access education and job training to the extent that such programs are available to them.

January 5, 2017  The President's Role in Advancing Criminal Justice Reform Commentary by Barack Obama, Harvard Law Review. We simply cannot afford to spend $80 billion annually on incarceration, to write off the 70 million Americans – that’s almost one in three adults – with a criminal record, to release 600,000 inmates each year without a better program to reintegrate them into society, or to ignore the humanity of 2.2 million men and women currently in U.S. jails and prisons and over 11 million men and women moving in and out of U.S. jails every year.

December 15, 2016  Using Jail to Enroll Low-Income Men in Medicaid Urban Institute. Many people in jail have serious health needs that can contribute to a cycle of relapse and recidivism, but a recent pilot in Connecticut found that those who left jail with Medicaid coverage availed themselves of outpatient services, prescription medicines, and behavioral health care, often within one month of release. This report details how jail staff worked with Medicaid to implement an enrollment procedure and describes the challenges in conducting enrollment with pretrial detainees given their short stays in jail. Findings suggest that suspending rather than terminating Medicaid coverage when people enter jail, as well as automatically reinstating Medicaid upon release, can increase continuity of care for this high-risk population. Doing so may enhance the health prospects of individuals leaving jail and potentially reduce recidivism, while also minimizing the burden on hospitals of preventable emergency room visits.

December 14, 2016  KIND is ...... Transformation of Hearts  We teamed up with The KIND Foundation started by @KINDSnacks to show our support for some amazing humans doing extraordinarily kind things in the world. The KIND Foundation has awarded $1.1 million in prizes to 7 #KINDPeople winners who are transforming their communities through kindness. Jo Dee Davis, Executive Director of Healing Broken Circles, is one of them. Her program at the Marion Correctional Facility for men uses writing, poetry, yoga, theater, and group discussion as tools for healing. While many people write off the men in her prison as "not worth it," Jo Dee believes that prison can be transformational. Her dedication to the men of this prison facility is such an incredible act of kindness. What actions can you do show kindness to people who are often overlooked? To discover more stories of kindness visit

November 23, 2016  The Banks That Finance Private Prison Companies In the Public Interest, November 2016. This report is part of In the Public Interest’s Programs Not Profits campaign. Each year, the private corrections industry collects hundreds of millions of dollars in profits from taxpayers. To strengthen safety and justice in our communities, we should invest that money in improving and expanding treatment and rehabilitation programs. Programs Not Profits is a multi-year campaign that promotes replacing private profits that hurt incarcerated people, correctional officers, and taxpayers, with publicly funded and managed programs that provide job training, mental health care, and substance abuse treatment. Private prison companies hold contracts to operate hundreds of prisons, jails, and immigration detention centers across the country. By profiting off of incarceration, private prison companies have a perverse incentive to make business decisions that lead to more people behind bars. Private prisons also are rife with human rights abuses, pay correctional officers less than they are paid at publicly managed prisons, and foster environments unconducive to prisoner rehabilitation.

November 15, 2016  Highlights from the U.S. PIAAC Survey of Incarcerated Adults: Their Skills, Work Experience, Education, and Training National Center for Educational Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, November 2016. The U.S. PIAAC Survey of Incarcerated Adults was designed to provide information to policymakers, administrators, educators, and researchers who are developing education and training policies and programs for incarcerated adults. This report highlights data from the survey’s extensive background questionnaire and direct assessments of cognitive skills. It examines the skills of incarcerated adults in relationship to their work experiences and to their education and training in prison. The U.S. PIAAC Survey of Incarcerated Adults follows two earlier studies, conducted by NCES in the 1990s and early 2000s, which assessed the skills of incarcerated adults in the United States. Results from the earlier studies are not directly comparable with the results from the PIAAC Survey of Incarcerated Adults at this time. Nonetheless, the current survey is an extension of this earlier work and continues the ongoing analysis and conversation about the skills and experiences of the U.S. prison population.

October 28, 2016  Licensing Reform: The Path to Public Safety & Economic Opportunity for People with Arrest and Conviction Records Safer Policy Institute, Safer Foundation, Chicago, IL October 2016. This report reviews Illinois’ licensing policies in the context of recent developments in reentry and employment. Following an overview of the state of the criminal justice system, the report looks
at the theory of licensing and the relevance to it of arrest or conviction records. It then identifies benchmarks in Ban-the-Box and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) guidance on the use of arrest and conviction records in hiring, and examines Illinois’ licensing policies on four issues (good moral character, rehabilitation, job relatedness, look-back periods) against these benchmarks. Finally, the report makes recommendations for administrative and legislative changes.

October 10, 2016  Breaking the Prison Pipeline Upstanders - A Starbucks Original Series. A former inmate's quest to keep ex-convicts from returning to prison. by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran.

October 6, 2016  6 Million Lost Voters: State-Level Estimates of Felony Disenfranchisement, 2016 The Sentencing Project, Washington, D.C.  The United States remains one of the world’s strictest nations when it comes to denying the right to vote to citizens convicted of crimes. An estimated 6.1 million Americans are forbidden to vote because of “felony disenfranchisement,” or laws restricting voting rights for those convicted of felony-level crimes. This report is intended to update and expand our previous work on the scope and distribution of felony disenfranchisement in the United States (see Uggen, Shannon, and Manza 2012; Uggen and Manza 2002; Manza and Uggen 2006). The numbers presented here represent our best assessment of the state of felony disenfranchisement as of the November 2016 election.

September 22, 2016  Prisoners of Christ News Video News4Jax, March 31, 2014

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest legal and educational institute that protects the free expression of all faiths. The Becket Fund exists to vindicate a simple but frequently neglected principle: that because the religious impulse is natural to human beings, religious expression is natural to human culture.

August 16, 2016  The Federal Interagency Reentry Council: A Record of Progress and a Roadmap for the Future The mission of the Reentry Council is to make communities safer by reducing recidivism and victimization; to help those who return from prison and jail to become productive citizens; and to save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration. The Reentry Council advances policies and programs that connect justice-involved persons with meaningful educational and employment opportunities, with access to health care and a safe place to live, so that motivated individuals – who have served their time and paid their dues – are able to contribute to their communities. The Reentry Council strives for safe and healthy communities where the bonds among residents are strong and everyone has the opportunity to succeed. If we want people to be able to support themselves and their families, pay their taxes, and contribute to their communities, it is essential that we provide them with a path back to full citizenship and civic participation. The mission, the goals, the policies, and the action plan the Reentry Council lays out in this report are presented in service of this vision.

July 18, 2016  Health Care Reform - A Practical Guide for Corrections and Criminal Justice Professionals American Correctional Association & Bureau of Justice Assistance. Corrections and criminal justice professionals have continuing opportunities to utilize the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in reentry planning for the justice-involved populations they serve. This document outlines the successful strategies some jurisdictions have incorporated to enroll individuals in Medicaid and private health insurance to facilitate continuity of health care from incarceration to the community. The guide provides information for each step in the process of implementing health care reform for the adult population.

July 7, 2016  State and Local Expenditures on Corrections and Education A Brief from the U.S. Department of Education. Over the past three decades, state and local government expeditures on prisons and jails have increased about three times as fast as spending on elementary and secondary education. This policy brief examines state-by-state trends to compare the extent to which state and local governments are investing in education and in corrections.

Since the President took office, this Administration has been committed to reforming America's criminal justice system and highlighting the importance of reducing barriers facing justice-involved individuals who are trying to put their lives back on track. Over 2.2 million individuals are in American prisons and jails, and the vast majority of them will return to their communities. Improving education and job opportunities has a recognized effect of reducing crime, making our communities safer and reducing barriers to success. Today, the Administration announced a series of education and jobs programs along with other supportive measures designed to ensure that people who are returning from prison to the community are equipped with the skills and resources necessary to obtain employment, support their families, and contribute to society. 

June 13, 2016  Edovo - Secured Tablet Education Built for Corrections  YouTube (3:15) How can correctional facilities provide programming and services, while maintaining secure and efficient facilities? Access to education while incarcerated reduces recidivism by 43%, yet administering high-quality programming can be logistically challenging and taxing on facilities. This video demonstrates how technology is transforming how jails and prisons can administer educational resources. Edovo is operating nationally, and their tablets provide access to academic, vocational, and treatment programming for all learning levels. This access creates calmer, safer facilities and allows incarcerated people to develop skills to use inside facilities and after release.

June 13, 2016  Edovo - Education Built for Corrections YouTube (4:15) Incarcerated people who participate in academic and vocational programs are more likely to gain employment after release, and less likely to reoffend. Yet until now, there has not been a scalable way to offer hundreds of evidence-based courses to every incarcerated person. Technology is changing that, and Edovo educational tablets are bringing academic classes, job training, and therapeutic courses into facilities across the country. Hear from users in Pennsylvania and California about how they are accessing courses at their learning level, on topics they are interested in, to change their mindsets and prepare for success when they return to their communities. Their stories demonstrate how incarceration can become motivation.

May 2016  Public Health and Incarceration: Social Justice Matters Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved (JHCPU), Vol 27, No 2, May 2016 Supplement. Providing health care in jails, prisons, half-way houses, and community-supervised correctional programs, correctional facilities, and community systems has a direct effect on health outcomes of incarcerated populations. Moreover, effective linkages to a myriad of services upon release and assistance with community reintegration are key components for reducing recidivism. In an effort to highlight some of the disparity issues and challenges in corrections, we offer this issue, titled, Public Health and Incarceration: Social Justice Matters. This issue of the JHCPU seeks to draw attention to correctional health disparities and health equity concerns. Obtaining social justice equity will undoubtedly continue as a litmus test for advancing correctional parity in the U.S. As the struggle continues, progressive and forward-thinking practices, policies, and legislation must be implemented.

May 12, 2016  Philosophy of Reentry - Montana Department of Corrections YouTube (35:41) This video provides a basic overview of the Montana Department of Corrections Reentry Initiative and the philosophy behind the initiative.

May 2, 2016  A Shared Sentence - the devastating toll of parental incarceration on kids, families and communities  April 2016, policy report, Kids Count; The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Incarceration breaks up families, the building blocks of our communities and nation. It creates an unstable environment for kids that can have lasting effects on their development and well-being. These challenges can reverberate and multiply in their often low-income neighborhoods, especially if they live in a community where a significant number of residents, particularly men, are in or returning from jail or prison. And different obstacles emerge once parents are released and try to assume their roles as caregivers, employees and neighbors. This report recommends policies and practices that put the needs of children of incarcerated parents first. We call on correctional systems, communities and state and local public agencies to help stabilize families and preserve their connections during incarceration — and successfully move forward once parents come home.

April 29, 2016  Economic Perspectives on Incarceration and the Criminal Justice System  Executive Office of the President of the United States. In recent decades, the criminal justice system in the United States has expanded dramatically. Since 1980, the number of people incarcerated in the U.S. has grown by nearly 350 percent, resulting in approximately 2.2 million people behind bars.1 Today, the United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, and our per-capita incarceration rate is more than four times the world average. This report builds on this progress by offering economic perspectives on criminal justice reform. The report first analyzes the growth in the incarcerated population, and finds that changes to criminal justice policies—not underlying changes in crime—are principally responsible for this trend. The report also examines the relative costs and benefits of different criminal justice policies, and concludes that investments in police, education, and jobs programs are more costeffective than increasing incarceration. Finally, the report outlines several promising areas for reform, and highlights recent actions taken by the Administration to holistically improve the criminal justice system.

April 28, 2016  The Importance of Medicaid Coverage for Criminal Justice Involved Individuals Reentering Thier Communities ASPE Issue Brief. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides generous Federal support to states that elect to expand the Medicaid program to all adults with incomes below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. This newly eligible group contains many people who are justice involved. More than one quarter of Americans have had some sort of encounter with the criminal justice system, mostly for relatively minor, non-violent offenses. Justice involved individuals have disproportionately high rates of chronic conditions, infectious disease, and behavioral health problems. This issue brief explains why Medicaid and access to the health benefits the program covers can play a key role in improving the health of these individuals, especially as they reenter society, as well as provide important benefits to their communities, including reduced recidivism. Prior to the passage of the ACA, most justice involved individuals did not meet Medicaid’s income or categorical eligibility requirements, and typically would have been uninsured with limited access to needed services. Medicaid expansion for adults, made possible by the ACA, offers new opportunities to increase health coverage for this population, which may contribute to improvements in their ability to access care as well as greater stability in their lives and reduced recidivism rates.

April 28, 2016  CMS Letter to Facilitate successful re-entry for individuals transitioning from incarceration to their communities Dear State Health Official: The purpose of this letter and its attachment is to provide guidance on facilitating access to covered Medicaid services for eligible individuals prior to and after a stay in a correctional institution. This State Health Official Letter with attached Questions and Answers (Qs & As) describes how states can better facilitate access to Medicaid services for individuals transitioning from incarceration to their communities.

April 25, 2016  Roadmap to Reentry U.S. Department of Justice. Each year, more than 600,000 citizens return to neighborhoods across America after serving time in federal and state prisons. Another 11.4 million individuals cycle through local jails. And nearly one in three Americans of working age have had an encounter with the criminal justice system—mostly for relatively minor, non-violent offenses, and sometimes from decades in the past. The Roadmap to Reentry identifies five evidence-based principles guiding federal efforts to improve the correctional practices and programs that govern the lives of those who will reenter society after incarceration. The Department of Justice takes the view that “reentry begins on Day One.” And, just as important, our involvement does not end at the prison gates. As such, these corrections principles span the cycle of custody and beyond: from intake, to incarceration, through to release.

March 18, 2016  Reducing Mental Illness in Rural Jails by Nastassia Walsh, National Association of Counties (NACo)  U.S. jail admissions reach 11 million annually, and the number of people in county jails is now at four times the size of the 1970 jail population. Much of this growth has been driven by small and mid-sized counties, which now make up more than 75 percent of the U.S. jail population.  Jails across the nation serve an estimated 2 million people with serious mental illnesses each year 2 – almost three-quarters of whom also have substance use disorders. The prevalence of people with serious mental illnesses in jails is three to six times higher than for the general population. Once incarcerated, these individuals tend to stay longer in jail and upon release are at a higher risk of returning than those without these illnesses. The goal of this publication is to provide rural county leaders with ideas and strategies for addressing these challenges by providing examples of counties that have successfully done so or are making progress. There is no one strategy that will work for all counties, or all rural counties. But county leaders are encouraged to learn from each other’s experiences and adapt their peers’ policies, practices and programs to fit the needs of their county and residents.

March 14, 2016  Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2016  by Peter Wagner & Bernadette Rabuy, Prison Policy Initiative. Wait, does the United States have 1.4 million or more than 2 million people in prison? Are most people in state and federal prisons locked up for drug offenses? Frustrating questions like these abound because our systems of confinement are so fragmented and controlled by various entities. There is a lot of interesting and valuable research out there, but varying definitions make it hard — for both people new to criminal justice and for experienced policy wonks — to get the big picture. This report offers some much needed clarity by piecing together this country’s disparate systems of confinement. The American criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 942 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,283 local jails, and 79 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories. And we go deeper to provide further detail on why convicted and not convicted people are locked up in local jails.

March 12, 2016  Edovo, Maker of Tablet-Based Education For Inmates, Aims To Reduce Recidivism And Continues To Grow By Anne Field, Contributor, Forbes Entrepreneurs & Small Business Newsletters. A lot has happened to Edovo since we wrote about them last year. The startup, which has a wireless, tablet-based education platform for  incarcerated inmates, changed its name from Jail Education Solutions, deployed its system in several states and, tomorrow,  is participating in a SXSW pitch competition for civic tech startups. Edovo’s platform aims to reduce recidivism by providing inmates with the chance to get an education. While more than 50% of inmates return behind bars after release, educational and vocational programming can reduce recidivism by 43% in three years, according to Rand Corp. Originally focused on people in jail, cofounder Brian Hill plans to expand to include prison inmates, as well as those who’ve served their time and are back out in the world, so they can continue to use the content.  (Thus the change from Jail Education Solutions; Edovo, which stands for Education Over Obstacles, was always the name for the platform). As of now, counties in three states–California, Pennsylvania and Alabama–are providing Edovo to over 4,000 users in jails. But according to Hill, in the next six months several prison systems will start using the platform.

March 4, 2016  Screening and Assessment of Co-Occurring Disorders in the Justice System  (2015) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) authored by Roger H. Peters, PhD, Elizabeth Rojas, MA, and Marla G. Bartoi, PhD of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida. This monograph examines a wide range of evidence-based practices for screening and assessment of people in the justice system who have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders (CODs). Use of evidence-based approaches for screening and assessment is likely to result in more accurate matching of offenders to treatment services and more effective treatment and supervision outcomes (Shaffer, 2011). This monograph is intended as a guide for clinicians, case managers, program and systems administrators, community supervision staff, jail and prison booking and healthcare staff, law enforcement, court personnel, researchers, and others who are interested in developing and operating effective programs for justice-involved individuals who have CODs. Key systemic and clinical challenges are discussed, as well as state-of-the art approaches for conducting screening and assessment. The monograph also reviews a range of selected instruments for screening, assessment, and diagnosis of CODs in justice settings and provides a critical analysis of advantages, concerns, and practical implementation issues (e.g., cost, availability, training needs) for each instrument. A number of the evidence-based instruments described in this monograph are available in the public domain (i.e., are free of charge) and can be downloaded on the internet.

March 3, 2016  Medicaid Eligibility for People Getting Out of Prison is Smart Policy  Medicaid Suspension Policies for Incarcerated People: 50-State Map by Elizabeth Hagan, Families USA. People who are in prison are generally not eligible for Medicaid. But making sure they can get health care when they are released is smart policy. States can adopt a policy to suspend—rather than terminate—a person’s Medicaid coverage while he or she is incarcerated. The map shows which states suspend and which states terminate Medicaid for people entering jail or prison. Suspending Medicaid makes it easier for a person leaving the criminal justice system to regain health coverage. This ensures quicker access to mental health services, prescribed medicines, and other needed care. It also helps the economy, improves the health of local communities, and reduces the chance of people returning to prison.

March 3, 2016  Health Insurance for People Involved in the Justice System: Outreach and Enrollment Strategies  Hagen, E. & J. Kendall, Families USA, Issue Brief, October 2015.  This brief describes the outreach and enrollment strategies that enrollment assisters can use to help people involved in the criminal justice system get health coverage. By focusing on this population, assisters will not only help these individuals enroll in health coverage and receive needed care, they will reach and enroll more uninsured consumers. Enrollment assisters in many states are working to help the justice-involved population enroll in health coverage. This brief provides an overview of why it is important to focus on this population and offers assisters tangible steps to begin this work. Outreach to and enrollment of the criminal justice population in health coverage has multiple benefits. Beyond helping the individual gain health coverage, this work can aid local communities, states, and enrollment assisters themselves. As local health insurance experts, enrollment assisters are perfectly poised to build relationships with people in their communities who are involved in the criminal justice system. By working with partners or coalitions, assisters can determine the best strategies for connecting this population to the health insurance—and health care—they need.

February 17, 2016  Strengthening Our Future: Key Elements to Developing a Trauma-Informed Juvenile Justice Diversion Program for Youth with Behavioral Health Conditions  National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice at Policy Research Associates, Inc., & Technical Assistance Collaborative, Inc.  The majority of youth in contact with the juvenile justice system in this country have a diagnosable behavioral health condition (Shufelt & Cocozza, 2006; Teplin et al., 2013; Wasserman, McReynolds, Schwalbe, Keating, & Jones, 2010). In addition, approximately 60 percent of youth in contact with the juvenile justice system and diagnosed with a mental illness or substance use disorder have both (Shufelt & Cocozza, 2006; Wasserman, McReynolds, Schwalbe, Keating, & Jones, 2010). Many youth end up in the juvenile justice system, not because of the seriousness of their crime but because appropriate community-based treatments and services to address their specific needs are lacking, their conditions have not been recognized, or the relevant service systems are not coordinating effectively. Given the complexity of their needs and the documented inadequacies of their care within the juvenile justice system, there is a growing sentiment that, whenever safe and feasible, youth with behavioral health conditions should be diverted as early as possible to effective community-based treatments and services (Skowyra & Cocozza, 2006). To effectively identify and respond to youth with behavioral health conditions in contact with the juvenile justice system, states must adopt a specialized approach that integrates a wide array of service agencies and court processes, coordinates mental health and substance use services and supports, emphasizes early intervention, and uses evidence-based programs and practices to treat the complex needs of these youth. For many youth, this means employing a trauma-informed approach to care. According to a recent national survey on children’s exposure to violence, approximately two out of every three children will be exposed to violence, crime, or abuse in their homes, schools, and communities (Finkelhor, Turner, Ormrod, Hamby, & Kracke, 2009). These already alarming figures jump when one looks at rates of exposure to violence among children in juvenile justice settings where more than 75 percent of youth have experienced traumatic victimization (Abram et al, 2004; Ford, Chapman, Connor, & Cruise, 2012). These high rates of trauma have far-reaching and severe consequences. Children exposed to violence are more likely to experience difficulties in school and work settings and to engage in delinquent behaviors that may lead to contact with the juvenile and criminal justice systems (Felitti et al., 1998; Ford, Chapman, Connor, & Cruise, 2012).

February 1, 2016  The Reentry of Formerly Incarcerated Persons: Key Accomplishments, Challenges, and Future Directions  A Report on the National Reentry Symposium, September 9-10, 2015. Recognizing the importance of effective reentry practices at the federal, state, and local levels, in September 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) co-sponsored the National Reentry Symposium: Promising Practices and Future Directions. The event was the first of its kind in terms of its composition. Leaders and professionals from the federal correctional system worked in partnership with administrators and representatives from state corrections agencies and large urban jails. In total, over 150 persons representing 31 BOP facilities and 41 states shared information and ideas about the unique challenges of the incarcerated and those seeking to ensure their successful return to the community. Throughout the two-day session, federal and state representatives from each of the BOP’s six national regions met as teams to discuss methods to enhance federal and state collaborative efforts within their regions. The culmination of the Symposium was the development of regionally based reentry action plans designed to reduce the likelihood of recidivism through improved coordination and collaboration and the delivery of enhanced evidence-based programs and services. Key strategies that emerged from these discussions are included in the final section of this paper.

January 27, 2016  Transforming Prisons, Restoring Lives - Final Recommendations of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections January 2016. This report provides both an urgent call to action and a roadmap for reforming the federal prison system, which, with 197,000 people behind bars, was the largest in the nation as 2015 drew to a close. By adopting the recommendations detailed here, and committing sufficient resources to ensure their effectiveness, we can reduce the federal prison population by 60,000 people over the coming years and achieve savings of over $5 billion, allowing for reinvestment in programs proven to reduce crime. Most important, these proposed reforms and savings can be achieved through evidence-based policies that protect public safety. The recommendations found in this report reflect these principles and the Task Force’s commitment to bipartisan, consensus-based decision-making. With this report, the Task Force intends to provide Congress, along with the Executive and Judicial Branches, with tools to reform the federal system, as well as a structure and mission that reflect contemporary criminal justice knowledge about how to prevent reoffending and rebuild lives.

December 29, 2015  Toolkit: State Strategies to Enroll Justice-Involved Individuals in Health Coverage  By Sarabeth Zemel, Anita Cardwell and Chiara Corso, National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), November 16, 2015. Health insurance options available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) offer new opportunities to enroll individuals involved in the criminal justice system into coverage and provide access to physical and behavioral health services critical to their successful reentry into the community. Many individuals involved in the criminal justice system are now eligible for Medicaid under the ACA, including many young, low-income males who did not previously qualify for Medicaid. With one exception, federal law prohibits using federal Medicaid funds to pay for medical care provided to incarcerated individuals. However, Medicaid enrollment processes can begin prior to an individual’s release from incarceration, as there is no federal prohibition on incarcerated individuals being enrolled in Medicaid and federal law requires states to permit individuals to apply for the program at any time. Drawing on interviews with state officials, this toolkit highlights the efforts of selected states [Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, Ohio, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin] to enroll in health coverage individuals involved with the criminal justice system. The toolkit is designed to provide state officials with actionable information about policies and practices available to connect justice- involved individuals to health care coverage through Medicaid." Access is provided to the sections of the Toolkit: the ACA, Medicaid, and justice-involved individuals; policy and process changes; enrollment as part of pre-release planning; post-release outreach; beyond eligibility and enrollment strategies; cross-agency coordination and partnerships; looking forward—future issues to address; state-specific strategies; Webinar: "Corrections and Medicaid Partnerships: Strategies to Enroll Justice-Involved Populations--Efforts in Colorado, New Mexico and Wisconsin"; and links to additional resources. Also presented is the interactive chart "Enrollment Process" which explains where, when, who, how, and whether individuals leave the facility with a Medicaid card. This resource is also available as a PDF chart.

December 28, 2015  Studies Cast Doubt on Effectiveness of Prisoner Reentry Programs  By David B. Muhlhausen, PhD, The Heritage Foundation BACKGROUNDER No. 3010, December 10, 2015. To date, we do not know enough about what works in helping former inmates safely and successfully reintegrate into society. In fact, the scientifically rigorous evaluations of prisoner reentry programs that use random assignment—the gold standard of evaluation designs—have found, at best, mixed evidence of success. This conclusion is particularly relevant for employment-based reentry programs. A large-scale multisite experimental evaluation of the federal government’s Reintegration of Ex-Offenders (RExO) program, an employment-based intervention, found the program to be ineffective. This conclusion has significant implications for congressional consideration of versions of the Second Chance Reauthorization Act (S. 1513 and H.R. 3406).

December 21, 2015  In Our Own Backyard: Confronting Growth and Disparities in American Jails Incarceration Trends, VERA Institute of Justice. One third of the nation's incarcerated population are in our city and county jails. According to the VERA Institute of Justice report, the research is clear: reducing the over-use of pretrial detention will reduce the size of both our jails and our prisons. Data is fundamental to understanding our jail problem. Ironically, however, although the problem of mass incarceration is routinely framed in terms of its numbers—2.2 million incarcerated people, 1 in 100 behind bars, a five-fold increase since the 1970s, at a cost of $80 billion—there is very little actionable data that can be used to provide insight on, or drive, local-level change. Incarceration Trends, a project of the VERA Institute of Justice, aims to reveal incarceration trends in the United States, inform the public debate on mass incarceration, and help guide change by providing easily accessible information on jail and prison populations in every U.S. county. The centerpiece of the project is a new data tool—available at—that collates and analyzes publically available, but disparately located, data about jail incarceration. The map-based tool, the first of its kind, can be used for reference and measurement by justice system stakeholders and others looking to understand how their jail is being used and how it compares with others over time. In particular, users will be able to spot problem areas within their own jail—such as excessive growth or racial or ethnic disparities—as well as identify other localities with similar population profiles and problems.

Health Affairs 34, NO. 12 (2015): 2044-2051.  The Affordable Care Act provides an unprecedented opportunity to enroll criminal justice–involved populations in health insurance, particularly Medicaid. As a result, many state and county corrections departments have launched programs that incorporate Medicaid enrollment in discharge planning. Our study characterizes the national landscape of programs enrolling criminal justice–involved populations in Medicaid as of January 2015. We provide an overview of sixty-four programs operating in jails, prisons, or community probation and parole systems that enroll individuals during detention, incarceration, and the release process. We describe the variation among the programs in terms of settings, personnel, timing of eligibility screening, and target populations. Seventy-seven percent of the programs are located in jails, and 56 percent use personnel from public health or social service agencies. We describe four practices that have facilitated the Medicaid enrollment process: suspending instead of terminating Medicaid benefits upon incarceration, presuming that an individual is eligible for Medicaid before the process is completed, allowing enrollment during incarceration, and accepting alternative forms of identification for enrollment. The criminal justice system is a complex one that requires a variety of approaches to enroll individuals in Medicaid. Future research should examine how these approaches influence health and criminal justice outcomes.

October 13, 2015 [ ] Risk and Needs Assessment in the Criminal Justice System Congressional Record Service (CRS) Report Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress. This report provides information on the use of risk and needs assessment in the criminal justice system. It starts with an overview of risk and needs assessment and a discussion of some of the critiques of it. The report concludes with a discussion of the issues policymakers might consider if they debate legislation to expand the use of risk and needs assessment in the federal prison system.

October 7, 2015 [ ] Using Offender Risk and Needs Assessment Information at Sentencing: Observations from Ten Jurisdictions National Center for State Courts, 2015. This report is a companion piece to the 2011 Guiding Principles report. Several jurisdictions now provide RNA information to the court to inform sentencing decisions as part of a broader evidence-based approach to effective risk      management and recidivism reduction. To illustrate how some courts are using RNA information, the National Center for State Courts’ Center for Sentencing Initiatives published a series of profiles in 2013 and 2014 describing the experiences of ten local jurisdictions from ten states across the nation. The current report synthesizes the information across the ten jurisdictions and provides examples of how and the degree to which jurisdictions have implemented each of the nine guiding principles recommended by the National Working Group.

October 1, 2015 [ ] Using Offender Risk and Needs Assessment Information at Sentencing - Guidance for Courts from a National Working Group   National Center for State Courts, 2011. During the last two decades, substantial research has demonstrated that the use of certain practices in criminal justice decision making can have a profound effect on reducing offender recidivism. One of these practices is the use of validated risk and needs assessment (RNA) instruments to inform the decision making process. Once used almost exclusively by probation and parole departments to help determine the best supervision and treatment strategies for offenders, the use of RNA information is expanding to help inform decisions at other points in the criminal justice system as well. The use of RNA information at sentencing is somewhat more complex than for other criminal justice decisions because the sentencing decision has multiple purposes—punishment, incapacitation, rehabilitation, specific deterrence, general deterrence, and restitution—only some of which are related to recidivism reduction. This document provides guidance to help judges and others involved in the sentencing decision understand when and how to incorporate RNA information into their decision making process.

September 21, 2015 [ ] How to protect yourself, first time in prison   National Institute of Corrections. This video is for newly incarcerated individuals. Real inmates provide information about how to prevent sexual abuse, what to do if you are sexually threatened or raped, and the sexual assault investigation process. Topics discussed include: you deserve a safe and humane confinement; the feelings you could have the first time you are incarcerated; sexual abusers rely on manipulation; choose your exercise/workout partner wisely; trust no one at first--trust is earned, and be careful who you befriend; how to be safe in the shower—always take a shower with your underwear on; you are less likely to be manipulated if you are yourself; take the time to observe other inmates and how they treat others; remain cautious; always remember that nothing is free, there is always a price; do not gamble or take drugs; it is not snitching if you are trying to protect yourself; if you are assaulted seek medical attention right away; and you have the right not to be sexually abused by other inmates or staff. Authored by Parsell, T.J., author and director; Clifton, Emily Gumpel, editor.

September 16, 2015 [ ] Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails The National Association of Counties (NACo), the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF) have come together to lead a national initiative to help advance counties' efforts to reduce the number of adults with mental and co-occurring substance use disorders in jails. With support from the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance, the initiative will build on the many innovative and proven practices being implemented across the country.​ In May 2015, NACo and partners at the CSG Justice Center and APAF launched Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails and announced a Call to Action demonstrating strong county and state leadership and a shared commitment to a multi-step planning process that can achieve concrete results for jails in counties of all sizes. As part of this Call to Action, county elected officials are being asked to pass a resolution and work with other leaders (e.g., the sheriff, judges, district attorney, treatment providers, and state and local policymakers), people with mental illnesses and their advocates, and other stakeholders to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails.

September 1, 2015 [ ] Charging Inmates Perpetuates Mass Incarceration  by Lauren-Brooke Eisen, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. The American criminal justice system is replete with fees that attempt to shift costs from the government to those accused and convicted of breaking the law. Courts impose monetary sanctions on a "substantial majority of the millions of U.S. residents convicted of felony and misdemeanor crimes each year." Every aspect of the criminal justice process has become ripe for charging a fee. In fact, an estimated 10 million people owe more than $50 billion in debt resulting from their involvement in the criminal justice system. In the last few decades, additional fees have proliferated, such as charges for police transport, case filing, felony surcharges, electronic monitoring, drug testing, and sex offender registration. Unlike fines, whose purpose is to punish, and restitution, which is intended to compensate victims of crimes for their loss, user fees are intended to raise revenue. This policy brief exposes how the widespread nature of charging fees to those who are incarcerated connects to the larger problem of mass incarceration in this country.

August 31, 2015 [ ] Jail Diversion Programs Help Youth SAMHSA News. When Jim St. Germain was arrested at the age of 15 on a felony drug charge, he was given a break that changed his life forever. At the time, Mr. St. Germain stood a strong chance of being sent to a prison in Upstate New York to serve time for his offense. But instead he got lucky — a spot was open at a juvenile group home that was run by the charity, Boys’ Town. Instead of doing hard time, he was given a chance — a chance to get the mental health and substance abuse counseling he needed to overcome some of the challenges he faced as an immigrant youth living in a tough Brooklyn neighborhood. “I was really fortunate to get into this place,” he says of the home. “If I had been sent to a lockdown facility, none of those things would have been available to me. Most of the kids who went up there ended up just being in a pipeline to the adult system.”

August 24, 2015 [ ] How To Explain A Parent's Arrest To A Child National Institute of Corrections. This pocket-sized card is a wonderful tool to remind law enforcement staff about the impact on a child whose parents are being arrested or incarcerated. Sections of this card explain: child's perception of arrest; how children might act and how you should respond; what to say; and when arrest is a raid or domestic violence (DV) response.

July 9, 2015 [ ] The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline: The Girls' Story Center for Poverty and Inequality, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC, 2015. Violence against girls is a painfully American tale. It is a crisis of national proportions that cuts across every divide of race, class, and ethnicity. The facts are staggering: one in four American girls will experience some form of sexual violence by the age of 18. Fifteen percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 12; nearly half of all female rape survivors were victimized before the age of 18. And girls between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. This report exposes the ways in which we criminalize girls — especially girls of color — who have been sexually and physically abused, and it offers policy recommendations to dismantle the abuse to prison pipeline. It illustrates the pipeline with examples, including the detention of girls who are victims of sex trafficking, girls who run away or become truant because of abuse they experience, and girls who cross into juvenile justice from the child welfare system. By illuminating both the problem and potential solutions, we hope to make the first step toward ending the cycle of victimization-to-imprisonment for marginalized girls

July 8, 2015 [ ] County Jails at a Crossroads By Natalie Ortiz, National Association of Counties (NACo).  County governments provide essential services to create healthy, safe, vibrant and economically resilient communities. Maintaining safe and secure communities is one of the most important functions of county governments. Most counties are involved in almost every aspect of law enforcement and crime prevention, including policing, judicial and legal services and corrections. Counties own 87 percent of all jails in the United States through which they provide supervision, detention and other correctional services to more than 700,000 persons in an effort to protect public safety and reduce recidivism. Effective jail management along with fair justice system policies and practices results in strategic management of the jail population and prudent county spending on the corrections system. One way to effectively manage the jail population is to improve the pretrial release process. Pretrial policies and practices involve defendants awaiting resolution to their case. Using the results of a 2015 NACo survey of county jails, an examination of the pretrial population in jail and policies impacting pretrial release in county jails provide the results in this report.

May 29, 2015 [ ] The Price of Jails: Measuring the Taxpayer Cost of Local Incarceration VERA Institute of Justice, May 2015. Although hidden from view and misunderstood by the public, jails play a central role in local justice systems. These are the places where most arrested men and women land and where many remain as their cases wind through the criminal justice system toward resolution. And as more people cycle through the thousands of jail systems in this country—with nearly 12 million admissions in 2013—jails have become one of the most significant public safety expenditures a community makes every year. Bigger jail populations mean increased costs for staff and associated overhead expenses (including costs related to expanded intake, diagnostic, and release procedures) and for basic necessities such as food, clothing, health care, and programming. In certain jurisdictions, the increased number of people in jail has led to costly construction of new facilities, including expanded maintenance and debt service costs. The U.S. Department of Justice estimated that local communities spent $22.2 billion on jails in 2011.

April 30, 2015 [ ] Lawyers' Committee Announces Criminal Justice Inititative to Mobilize the Private Bar to Fight Mass Incarceration by Stacie Royster. This week, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) released “Unequal Justice: Mobilizing the Private Bar to Fight Mass Incarceration,” a report to mark the official launch of the Criminal Justice Initiative. The Initiative’s mission is to mobilize the private bar to fight mass incarceration. The report outlines systematic racial disparities in the United States’ criminal justice system, identifies priority issue areas upon which the organization will focus its efforts, and proposes strategies to address them. The Lawyers’ Committee has long worked at the intersection of criminal justice and civil rights, from educational reentry to access to employment for people with criminal records. The Public Policy Project has also had extensive involvement in advocating for reform and convenes the Civil Rights Coalition for Police Reform, created by the Lawyers’ Committee immediately following the killing of unarmed youth Michael Brown by then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. In September 2013, the Lawyers’ Committee launched the Criminal Justice Initiative to specifically address injustices present in our criminal justice system. The Initiative focuses on mass incarceration, an issue which disproportionately affects individuals and communities of color. According to the report, “…the explosion of the criminal justice system that has accelerated over the past forty years and is today at a breaking point, necessitates a renewed, strategic, and focused effort by the organization.”

April 7, 2015 [ ] How Effective Is Correctional Education, and Where Do We Go From Here? RAND Corporation, 2014. The Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded the RAND Corporation a cooperative agreement to undertake a comprehensive examination of the current state of correctional education for incarcerated adults and juveniles, where it is headed, which correctional education programs are effective, and how effective programs can be implemented across different settings. Our first report, published in 2013—Evaluating the Effectiveness of Correctional Education: A Meta-Analysis of Programs That Provide Education to Incarcerated Adults—presented a comprehensive review of the scientific literature and a meta-analysis that synthesized the findings from multiple studies on the effectiveness of correctional education programs in helping to reduce recidivism and improve postrelease employment outcomes for incarcerated adults (Davis et al., 2013). This final report to the U.S. Attorney General first presents a summary of the findings from our earlier literature review and meta-analysis on the effectiveness of correctional education programs for incarcerated adults. It also provides three new sections.

March 26, 2015 [ ] Prison-To-Work: The Benefits of Intensive Job-Search Assistance for Former Inmates Civic Report No. 96 March 2015 Center for State and Local Leadership at the Manhattan Institute. This study evaluates the impact of enhanced job-readiness training and job-search assistance on reducing recidivism rates among ex-offenders. Programs offering enhanced job assistance are far from the norm. The program used in this study—developed by an employment agency that assists ex-offenders, welfare recipients, and other “hard-to-serve” clients—differs from other job services in scope and focus. The program, America Works, is condensed into an intense one- or two-week period. It uses a tough-love approach, stressing interpersonal communication and such “soft” skills as time and anger management. It places special attention on teaching practical skills that many former inmates never acquired, such as résumé preparation, search strategies, and interview techniques. And it uses a network of employers, who are open to hiring ex-offenders and with whom it has long-term relationships, to place clients. Its goal is not only to help former inmates find jobs but also to keep jobs, and it provides follow-up services for six months. In 2005, the program provided job-readiness classes to 1,000 ex-offenders, placing 700 in jobs. America Works receives referrals from agencies in New York City, including the city government’s Human Resources Administration (HRA), work-release centers, and the city’s Rikers Island Correctional Facility. By contrast, typical services offered to ex-offenders provide far less job-readiness training over a less concentrated period. Instead of providing placement services, such programs generally limit assistance to self-directed job searches.

March 23, 2015 [ ] Bridging the Gap: Improving the Health of Justice-Involved People through Information Technology VERA Institute of Justice, February 2015. On September 17, 2014, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) convened a two-day conference in Rockville, Maryland called Bridging the Gap: Improving the Health of Justice-Involved People through Information Technology. The meeting aimed to address the problems of disconnected justice and health systems and to develop solutions by describing barriers, benefits, and best practices for connecting community providers and correctional facilities using health information technology (HIT). The conference was particularly timely: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created opportunities to improve the health of low-income communities, including many people involved in the criminal justice system, who have historically lacked access to health care coverage. Information-sharing policies that promote intersystem communication can be used to identify eligible people who need treatment and to ensure continuity of care as they move between courts, jails, prisons, and healthcare settings in the community.

March 11, 2015 [ ] Offender Reentry: Correctional Statistics, Reintegration into the Community, and Recidivism Congressional Record Service (CRS) Report January 12, 2015.  The federal government’s involvement in offender reentry programs typically occurs through grant funding, which is available through a wide array of federal programs at the Departments of Justice, Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services. However, only a handful of grant programs in the federal government are designed explicitly for offender reentry purposes. The Department of Justice has started an interagency Reentry Council to coordinate federal reentry efforts and advance effective reentry policies. The Second Chance Act (P.L. 110-199) was enacted on April 9, 2008. The act expanded the existing offender reentry grant program at the Department of Justice and created a wide array of targeted grant-funded pilot programs.

February 23, 2015 [ ] Screening Out Family Time: The For-Profit Video Visitation Industry in Prisons and Jails By B. Rabuy & P. Wagner, Prison Policy Initiative, January 2015.  Video technology like Skype or FaceTime can be a great way to stay together for people who are far apart. It is not the same as being there in person, but it is better than a phone call or sending a letter. Given that there are 2.2 million people who are incarcerated, often many hundreds of miles from their homes, it should be no surprise that prison and jail video visitation is quietly sweeping the nation. This report makes 23 recommendations for federal and state regulators, legislators, correctional facilities, and the video visitation companies on how they could ensure that video visitation brings families together and makes our communities stronger instead of weaker.

February 17, 2015 [ ] Cost-Benefit Analysis and Justice Policy Toolkit  VERA Institute of Justice, December 2014. In recent years, policymakers and the public have been asking whether justice policies pass the “cost-benefit test.” Two questions drive this discussion: First, what works to reduce crime? And second, are those programs and policies worth the cost? In 2009 the Vera Institute of Justice launched the Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice (CBKB) to help researchers and practitioners address these questions.  The purpose of this toolkit is to guide justice analysts new to cost-benefit analysis (CBA) through its foundational steps.

February 13, 2015 [ ] Incarceration's Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America VERA Institute of Justice, February 2015. This report addresses what is arguably one of the chief drivers of difficulty in our troubled criminal justice system: jails. The report’s encyclopedic examination of jail use—who’s in jail and the myriad paths leading there—is meant to inform. The report reviews the research and interrogates the data from a wide range of sources to open a window on the widespread misuse of jails in America. It also draws on Vera’s long experience in the field and examples from jurisdictions of different sizes and compositions to suggest how the negative consequences of this misuse can be mitigated. As the report makes clear, jails are all around us—in nearly every town and city. Yet too few of us know who’s there or why they are there or what can be done to improve them.

February 9, 2015 [ ] Locked in the Past: Montana's Jails in Crisis  American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Montana, February 9, 2015. The purpose of this report is to provide a comprehensive overview that identifies conditions of confinement in county detention centers throughout Montana and provide recommendations regarding how we might improve those conditions. The study utilized a three-prong methodology, including touring jails, interviewing administrators and prisoners, and sending a mixed-method questionnaire to all jail inmates in the state. We identified several overarching trends, including: a) overuse of solitary confinement for individuals with mental illness; b) inadequate numbers of detention staff; c) lack of access to fresh air; d) lack of access to natural light and exercise; e) inadequate medical and mental health care; f) overcrowding; g) lack of basic necessities such as underwear, socks, and bras; h) Unconstitutional prohibitions on visitation from minors and non-family members; i) lack of access to law libraries; j) inadequate or unworkable grievance procedures; and, k) sub-par physical plant issues.

February 6, 2015 [ ] New jail re-entry coordinator hits the ground running Whitney Bermes, Bozeman Daily Chronicle. While the Gallatin County jail’s re-entry coordinator has only been on the job a few months, she is already reporting success. “We’ve come a very long way in a very short time,” said Tiffani Pimley, coordinator of Gallatin County’s Fresh Start re-entry program for jail inmates.”It’s been overwhelming in a really great way. The community has been amazing.” The program, a first of its kind in Montana, began in October with the aim of helping Gallatin County inmates return to the community. The organization connects inmates to services that help with housing, loyment and more. Pimley, the program’s first coordinator, is a Gallatin County Sheriff ’s Office employee and has her office in the jail. The position is paid for with revenue the jail receives from housing out-of-county inmates. That revenue will fund the position for its first 21 months, costing about $173,977. The program is the culmination of five years of work by the Re-Entry Task Force, created in 2009 by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, an advisory group that includes members of the county’s criminal justice system. The task force’s goal has been to keep criminals from re-offending, and it created a strategic plan that included parameters for the re-entry program. In August, the Gallatin County Commission agreed to fund the program for its first two years. Fresh Start participants are Gallatin County men who have been sentenced for a crime and are considered a medium or high risk to re-offend.

February 5, 2015 [ ] Medical Problems of State and Federal Prisoners and Jail Inmates, 2011-12 by L. M. Maruschak & M. Berzofsky, Bureau of Justice Statistics. In 2011–12, half of state and federal prisoners and local jail inmates reported ever having a chronic condition. Chronic conditions include cancer, high blood pressure, stroke-related problems, diabetes, heart-related problems, kidney-related problems, arthritis, asthma, and cirrhosis of the liver. Twenty-one percent of prisoners and 14% of jail inmates reported ever having an infectious disease, including tuberculosis, hepatitis B and C, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). About 1% of prisoners and jail inmates who had been tested for HIV reported being HIV positive.

February 4, 2015 [ ] Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections The Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections was created by Congress. This nine-person, bipartisan, blue ribbon task force is mandated to examine challenges in the federal corrections system and develop practical, data-driven policy responses. The Task Force will meet throughout 2015 to conduct its work and present its findings and recommendations at the end of 2015 to Congress, the Department of Justice, and the President.

January 28, 2015 [ ] Reading on the Inside - Programs help incarcerated parents connect with their children through books by Megan Cottrell, American Libraries Magazine. The number of kids with incarcerated parents has increased nearly 80% in the last 20 years, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. More than 2.7 million children have a parent who is incarcerated, and parents of another 10 million children have been incarcerated at some point. The experience can be profoundly difficult for children, increasing their risk of living in poverty and housing instability, as well as causing emotional trauma, pain, and social stigma.

January 26, 2015 [ ] Advancing a Federal Fair Chance Hiring Agenda by M. Emsellem & M.N. Rodriguez, National Employment Law Project.  Almost one in three adults in the United States has a criminal record that will show up on a routine criminal background check. This creates a serious barrier to employment for millions of workers, especially in communities of color hardest hit by decades of over-criminalization. This paper makes the case for a federal fair-chance-hiring administrative initiative—including an Executive Order and Presidential Memorandum—that ensures that both federal agencies and federal contractors are leading the way to create job opportunities for qualified people with criminal records. In addition, as the 114th Congress convenes, this paper identifies several bipartisan legislative priorities, including the REDEEM Act (S. 2567), co-sponsored by Senators Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY), that would significantly advance employment opportunities for people with criminal records.

January 20, 2015 [ ] 9-0 Supreme Court for Religious Liberty  by Emily Hardman, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.    Washington, DC – In a unanimous 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court [ ]ruled today that prison officials cannot arbitrarily ban peaceful religious practices, securing a landmark victory for religious freedom for all faiths. ([ ]see video here). “No religion is an island,” said Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty representing the plaintiff Abdul Muhammad in this case. “This is not just a win for one prisoner in Arkansas, but a win for all Americans who value religious liberty.” In the case of [ ]Holt v. Hobbs, the Court ruled that Mr. Muhammad has the right to peacefully wear a half-inch beard in accordance with his Muslim faith after the State of Arkansas failed to show that it had a compelling interest in banning beards. In light of the fact that more than 43 state, federal, and local prison systems allow beards, and because Arkansas has long allowed beards for medical reasons (see [ ]infographic), the Court held that Arkansas could not rely on mere assertions. The Court said that the law does not permit “unquestioning deference” to prison officials, and that lower courts had wrongly “deferred to [Arkansas] prison officials’ mere say-so.” The Supreme Court heard the case of [ ]Holt v. Hobbs on October 7. At issue was whether the Arkansas prison system’s refusal to allow the peaceful wearing of a half-inch beard violates a federal civil rights law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).

January 19, 2015 [ ] Behind bars, college is back in session in some Washington prisons  by Katherine Long, The Seattle Times.  Privately funded college classes are starting to creep back into state prisons after being absent for nearly two decades. Supporters say they reduce the recidivism rate and can save money on re-incarceration. Every week, they slide books through the metal detectors — novels by Virginia Woolf and Jane Austen, copies of the U.S. Constitution, texts on sociology, psychology and comparative religion. Then dozens of professors and instructors from Washington’s public and private colleges surrender their driver’s licenses and car keys to an armed guard, walk through the detector themselves and pass through a perimeter fence topped by coils of gleaming razor wire. They have come to teach some of the state’s most unlikely college students: men and women serving time for felonies such as rape, robbery and murder.

January 6, 2015 [ ] Sticker Shock: Calculating the Full Price Tag for Youth Incarceration Justice Policy Institute, December 2014. For nearly a decade and a half, the vast majority of states have made substantial progress in reducing reliance on incarceration to address behavior by the nation’s youth. Levels and rates of commitment of adjudicated youth have dropped: Between 2001 and 2011, there has been a 45 percent decline in the rate of youth committed and in residential placement. Temporary confinement of youth does play a role in the overall public safety system. Government uses incarceration both for adults and youth in incapacitation, deterrence, and retribution. That said, as highlighted by the National Research Council of the National Academies in their comprehensive review of juvenile justice policy, a “developmental model of juvenile justice rejects many of the punitive law reforms of the late 20th century as often excessively harsh and therefore unfair to young offenders and as likely to increase rather than decrease the threat to public safety…. Indeed, the evidence suggests incarceration likely increased the risk of recidivism for many youth.” There are indicators that temporary confinement4 continues to be overused. For example, 62 percent of the committed youth population in 2011 was adjudicated for a nonviolent offense. At the same time, incarceration continues to have a concentrated impact on youth of color.

January 6, 2015 [ ] Engaging with the Affordable Care Act: Implications and Recommendations for Adult Drug Court Professionals National Assoication of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP), May 2014. This bulletin outlines some of the key provisions of the the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and provides guidance to state administrators and Drug Court team members about where to find information, the most critical questions to ask, and recommendations for action. The ACA is in its early stages of implementation, and states are still working to interpret and put it into practice. Drug Court practitioners are well positioned to help inform local and state-wide implementation of the ACA. This document seeks to empower those involved in adult Drug Courts to become educated about the potential effects of the ACA on adult Drug Court operations and participants and to act effectively. Implementation of the ACA is a work in progress and, as such, this is the first in a series of advisories about the act and its implications.


December 23, 2014 [ ] Correctional Populations in the United States, 2013 Bureau of Justice Statistics. An estimated 6,899,000 persons were under the supervision of adult correctional systems at yearend 2013, a decline of about 41,500 from yearend 2012. About 1 in 35 adults (2.8%) in the United States was under some form of correctional supervision at yearend 2013, unchanged from 2012. About 1 in 51 adults was on probation or parole at yearend 2013, compared to 1 in 110 adults incarcerated in prison or local jail. While the U.S. prison population increased during 2013 (up 4,300 prisoners), the federal prison population decreased (down 1,900) for the first time since 1980. Since 2010, the female jail population has been the fastest growing correctional population, increasing an average of 3.4% annually. All of the decline in the correctional population during 2013 resulted from decreases in the probation (down 32,100) and local jail (down 13,300) populations.

October 2014 [ ] Evaluation of the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Reentry Programs Urban Institute. In 2010 and 2011, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, launched local reentry programs under the auspices of the Bureau of Justice Assistance Second Chance Act Adult Offender Reentry Demonstration Programs initiative. Designed to reduce recidivism and improve inmates’ transition to the community, the first of these two programs (Reentry1) linked sentenced Allegheny County jail inmates to Reentry Specialists who coordinated reentry services and programming both in jail and the community. The second program (Reentry2) connected inmates to designated reentry Probation Officers before release, who then engaged offenders in prerelease reentry planning and supervised them in the community after release. Both programs attempted to reduce reoffending through the use of risk/needs assessment, coordinated reentry planning, and delivery of evidence-based programs and practices.

October 1, 2014 [ ] Improving Recidivism as a Performance Measure Urban Institute. Performance measurement—establishing metrics for success and assessing results—is a crucial first step in making informed decisions in all areas of government, including criminal justice policy. Understanding the outcomes of funding and policy decisions is critical to improving government performance and providing the best return on taxpayer investments.Yet, compared with other functions of government, the sentencing and corrections policy debate frequently lacks meaningful performance measures. Too often, policymakers are forced to rely on anecdotes and system-level trends when adopting, implementing, and evaluating policies or programs. This is particularly true for assessing the effectiveness of justice agencies at improving public safety. A number of states, however, have begun to change the way they approach criminal justice policy development and adoption. States participating in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) engage in a data-driven process that targets the drivers of the correctional population and prison costs. As a result, more than 20 states have enacted reforms to reduce correctional spending so that a portion of the savings can be reallocated to programs that improve public safety.

August 2014 [ ] Aging Behind Bars: Trends and Implications of Graying Prisoners in the Federal Prison System Urban Institute. Over the past few decades, federal and state prison populations have increased dramatically. Accompanying this growth is a demographic shift to older prison populations. Older prisoners require special attention in prison, as they often suffer from chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart failure, cognitive impairment, and liver disease, as well as age-related disabilities. They are also more vulnerable to victimization in  prison. However, relatively little is known about the implications of aging prisoners. This report aims to address this knowledge gap by presenting an in-depth examination of the growth patterns in the largest correctional system in the United States—the US Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

August 5, 2014 [ ] Prison Inmates' Prerelease Application for Medicaid - Take-up Rates in Oregon Urban Institute. This report examines whether efforts to enroll people in Medicaid prior to their release from prison are successful in generating health insurance coverage after release. Urban Institute (Urban) researchers analyzed data from Oregon’s pre-Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid program to determine the extent to which released prisoners successfully gained coverage. In 2010 and 2011, before their release, Oregon prison inmates could participate in a two-stage application process for the state’s Medicaid program for childless adults and other low-income adults who did not qualify under traditional eligibility criteria. Under Oregon’s Medicaid rules, prisoners may apply while incarcerated, but may not obtain coverage until after their release. Inmates, on average, were slightly more successful than the general population in enrolling. Only 22 percent of those who applied were denied—which was about half of the denial rate for applicants in general—as far fewer inmates were denied for income- or resource-related reasons. The majority of inmates who participated in this application process had substance abuse or mental health treatment needs. The combination of low income and high treatment needs suggests that returning inmates are an important population to target for future Medicaid enrollment efforts.

July 16, 2014 [ ] The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Pretrial System: A "Front Door" to Health and Safety  By the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies (NAPSA), February 2014.   The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides an historic opportunity for millions of low-income individuals to obtain insurance coverage for their physical and behavioral health care needs. For the last several years, diverse behavioral health advocates, health care providers and community-based prevention organizations, have worked to understand the implications of the ACA on the justice-involved population. Much of the conversation has een centered on the disproportionately high rates of physical and behavioral health care needs amongst this previously uninsured population. While many criminal justice systems are engaging in conversations with their health partners about implementing the ACA, much of the conversation is focused on services for convicted offenders returning to the community from jail or prison rather than the pretrial population. It is expected that roughly 5.9 millionn (one-third) of the newly insured Medicaid population in 2016 will be people who will have been booked into jails during the year. By 2022, that number is estimated to increase to approximately 7 million. Access to treatment services through the ACA at pretrial decision points creates a notable opportunity to interrupt the cycle of crime exacerbated by chronic physical and behavioral health issues. The purpose of this document is to summarize the ACA and its relevance among pretrial populations.

June 18, 2014 [ ] Health Reform and Public Safety - New Opportunities, Better Outcomes  Research shows that there are a disproportionate number of justice involved individuals suffering from chronic illness and/ or mental health and substance abuse disorders. We also know that a majority of the justice-involved individuals are young adults and unemployed or earn an income that is well below the federal poverty line leaving them without the ability to obtain health care. There is now an opportunity to enhance collaboration between the criminal justice/corrections and healthcare systems. Early estimates indicate a significant number of justice-involved individuals may be eligible for provisions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), specifically; enrollment in Medicaid or the ability to purchase health care coverage through state health insurance exchanges. Because of the many health care expansion possibilities for this population we are witnessing an unprecedented opportunity to help connect the justice population to healthcare coverage and the associated healthcare services. Federal, state and local criminal justice systems are poised to change the way they do business with the advent of the ACA. It is now possible for millions of low income, justice- involved individuals to obtain healthcare or insurance coverage for their physical and behavioral health needs. This far reaching system change will impact every decision point in the criminal justice system from arrest to individuals returning to the community upon release. Presented on June 18, 2014, this program informed and increased awareness around this historic healthcare expansion opportunity. The broadcast highlighted promising practices by providing resources and strategies to expand healthcare coverage to justice-involved individuals. During this national discussion and broadcast by the National Institute of Corrections, presenters: ? Established the relevance of the Affordable Care Act to the criminal justice system. ? Provided concrete examples for collaboration and system linkages between the criminal justice system and healthcare system. ? Provided healthcare enrollment strategies to increase informed decision-making between criminal justice and healthcare stakeholders. SOURCE: National Institute of Corrections (NIC) (Washington, DC).

June 17, 2014 [ ] Mapping the Criminal Justice System to Connect Offenders with Treatment and Health Care under the Affordable Care Act  With the advent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is now possible for millions of low-income individuals in the criminal justice system to obtain insurance coverage for their physical and behavioral health care needs. This far-reaching system change will affect every decision point of the criminal justice system, from pretrial to reentry, and every partner, from correctional health to behavioral health. A large number of individuals in the criminal justcie system struggle with chronic health problems and mental health and substance abuse disorders. As states begin to implement the ACA and the criminal justice-involved population begins to receive care through Medicaid and marketplace insurance coverage, criminal justice agencies must be part of the planning and implementation conversations.This guide is for states and local jurisdictions interested in using system mapping to maximize opportunities for criminal justice and health care system integration and efficiency through the ACA.

May 20, 2014 [ ] A Culture of Coverage for Justice-Involved Adults in Illinois A Resource Guide for Implementing the Affordable Care Act for Criminal Justice Personnel in Illinois. This Resource Guide is designed to assist efforts in identifying and helping justice-involved individuals to enroll in health benefits now available to them through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA offers an unprecedented opportunity to make it possible for justice-involved individuals to obtain healthcare services that may reduce their recidivism risks. Under the ACA, thousands of justice-involved individuals are now eligible for either Medicaid or low-cost health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. While this is a step in the right direction to provide healthcare to this high-risk population, the ACA does not specify standardized procedures to connect justice-involved individuals with the healthcare coverage that is available to them through the ACA. Consequently, it is up to corrections personnel to help justice-involved individuals who are re-entering the community access healthcare coverage by determining their eligibility and facilitating the application and treatment enrollment process.  This project was made possible by support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, National Training and Technical Assistance Center to DMA Health Strategies, Advocates for Human Potential, Inc., and TASC, Inc.

May 12, 2014 [ ] Nation Behind Bars - A Human Rights Solution Criminal law reform in the US will be strengthened if it incorporates the human rights principles that require prudent use of criminal sanctions, fair punishment, and equal protection under the law. These are not only core human rights principles applicable to sentencing, but core principles of American justice that have been neglected for far too long.

April 22, 2014 [ ] Health Reform and Criminal Justice: Advancing New Opportunities The full webcast of this all-day national conference held on April 3, 2014, in Washington, DC, is now available both here and on the website of Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS). The conference provided a forum to discuss multiple topics - including health and criminal justice policy, Medicaid eligibility and enrollment, integration of community and jail health systems, and health information technology's role in building connectivity between corrections and the greater health care community.

April 10, 2014 [ ] Mass Incarceration in the US YouTube Video 3:40min - Published on Apr 4, 2014. Thanks to Visually ([ ] for facilitating the creation of this video, to [ ] for the animation, and to The Prison Policy Initiative for research help and fact checking. ([ ]

April 3, 2014 [ ] FY 2014 Competitive Grant Announcement - Maximizing the Affordable Care Act: Improving Recidivism and Health Outcomes for the Justice-Involved Population This program furthers the Department’s mission by strengthening state and local criminal justice systems’ abilities to leverage the opportunities provided by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to improve access to health coverage for the justice-involved population in order to lower recidivism and improve outcomes for this population. All applications are due by 11:59 p.m. eastern time on May 22, 2014.

April 2, 2014 [ ] America's New Drug Policy Landscape  Two-Thirds Favor Treatment, Not Jail, for Use of Heroin, Cocaine The public appears ready for a truce in the long-running war on drugs. A national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 67% of Americans say that the government should focus more on providing treatment for those who use illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Just 26% think the government’s focus should be on prosecuting users of such hard drugs. Support for a treatment-based approach to illegal drug use spans nearly all demographic groups. The survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Feb. 14-23 among 1,821 adults, finds that support for the legalization of marijuana use continues to increase. And fully 75% of the public –including majorities of those who favor and oppose the legal use of marijuana – think that the sale and use of marijuana will eventually be legal nationwide. By wide margins, the public views marijuana as less harmful than alcohol, both to personal health and to society more generally. Moreover, just as most Americans prefer a less punitive approach to the use of drugs such as heroin and cocaine, an even larger majority (76% of the public) – including 69% of Republicans and 79% of Democrats – think that people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana should not have to serve time in jail.

March 31, 2014 [ ] The ACA & Vulnerable Americans: HIV/AIDS; Jails  Health Affairs, March 2014; Volume 33, Issue 3. One of the least explored yet most important parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are provisions that hold promise for addressing serious health care challenges facing people who make up two groups of Americans, most of whom are impoverished and uninsured. This issue of Health Affairs addresses the needs of these two groups: the 1.1 million Americans who are living with HIV/AIDS and the 11.6 million people who cycle through the nation’s 3,300 local and county jails every year.

March 11, 2014 [ ] Little-Known Health Act Fact: Prison Inmates Are Signing Up By Erica Goode, The New York Times, March 9, 2014. In a little-noticed outcome of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, jails and prisons around the country are beginning to sign up inmates for health insurance under the law, taking advantage of the expansion of Medicaid that allows states to extend coverage to single and childless adults — a major part of the prison population. State and counties are enrolling inmates for two main reasons. Although Medicaid does not cover standard health care for inmates, it can pay for their hospital stays beyond 24 hours — meaning states can transfer millions of dollars of obligations to the federal government. But the most important benefit of the program, corrections officials say, is that inmates who are enrolled in Medicaid while in jail or prison can have coverage after they get out. People coming out of jail or prison have disproportionately high rates of chronic diseases, especially mental illness and addictive disorders. Few, however, have insurance, and many would qualify for Medicaid under the income test for the program — 138 percent of the poverty line — in the 25 states that have elected to expand their programs. Health care experts estimate that up to 35 percent of those newly eligible for Medicaid under Mr. Obama’s health care law are people with histories of criminal justice system involvement, including jail and prison inmates and those on parole or probation.

March 6, 2014 [ ] Ten Ways Probation & Parole Officers Can Help Link People to New Health Insurance Opportunities As millions of Americans become eligible for new, affordable health insurance options in 2014, probation and parole agencies can play a vital role in making sure people learn about health coverage and get help applying. By providing information and application assistance, they can help ensure that probationers and parolees with mental illness, substance use disorders and other chronic illnesses gain access to medical and behavioral health care upon release. This can improve the continuity of care and help reduce violations and recidivism, as well as help protect public health and safety. Many more individuals may now qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Many people who do not have health insurance will now be able to get it, and many may qualify for help that makes coverage easier to afford. The open enrollment period for coverage through the Marketplace runs from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. Individuals may apply for Medicaid or CHIP at any time. Since some special enrollment rules apply to detainees and people recently released from prison and jail, education, outreach and application assistance are particularly important.

March 6, 2014 [ ] Ten Ways Court Systems Can Help Make Connections to New Health Insurance Opportunities As millions of Americans become eligible for new, affordable health insurance options in 2014, court systems can play a vital role in making sure people learn about health coverage and get help applying. By helping people apply for health insurance, court systems can help large numbers of people with mental illness, substance use disorders and other chronic conditions gain access to primary and behavioral health care. Improving their access to health care services can help protect public health and safety. Depending on the state, many more people may qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Many people who do not have health insurance will now be able to get it, and many may also qualify for help that makes coverage easier to afford. Open enrollment for health coverage through the Marketplace runs from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. People can apply for Medicaid and CHIP at any time. Some special rules apply to people who are incarcerated.

March 6, 2014 [ ] Ten Ways Corrections Systems Can Help Link Returning Offenders to Health Insurance As millions of Americans become eligible for new, affordable health insurance in 2014, state corrections departments can play a vital role in making sure inmates and parolees learn about health coverage and get help applying. With health coverage, returning offenders are a step closer to gaining access to primary and behavioral health care services upon release. Individuals returning to the community from prison have higher rates of communicable disease and chronic conditions, such as mental illness and substance use disorders. Improving their access to health care services can help protect public health and safety.

February 25, 2014 [ ] Steven Rosenberg: Implications of the Affordable Care Act for the Criminal Justice System Vera Institute of Justice. Steve Rosenberg, president of Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS), talks with David Cloud of Vera's Substance Use and Mental Health program about the opportunities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to improve access to healthcare services for criminal justice-involved populations, as a way to improve both public health and public safety. Rosenberg explains the unique role that corrections and court personnel can play in identifying eligible individuals, assisting them with the enrollment process, and linking them to care in the community. He also emphasizes the importance of health information technology in breaking down communication barriers between correctional health and community health systems, as a way to enhance care coordination.

February 25, 2014 [ ] Incarceration and the Marketplace: What do incarcerated people need to know about the Marketplace? If you’re incarcerated some special rules apply to your health care options. For purposes of the Marketplace, “incarcerated” means serving a term in prison or jail. Incarceration doesn’t mean living at home or in a residential facility under supervision of the criminal justice system, or living there voluntarily. In other words, incarceration doesn’t include being on probation, parole, or home confinement. You’re not considered incarcerated if you’re in jail or prison pending disposition of charges—in other words, being held but not convicted of a crime.

________________2 0 1 3______________

 June 14, 2013 [ ] Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration  Welcome to Sesame Street’s press room for our newest resiliency initiative Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration. This bilingual (English/Spanish) multimedia outreach initiative provides much-needed resources to support and comfort young children (ages 3–8) throughout their parents’ incarceration. The incarceration of a loved one can be very overwhelming for both children and caregivers. It can bring about big changes and transitions. In simple everyday ways, you can comfort your child and guide her through these tough moments. With your love and support she can get through anything that comes her way. Here are some tools to help you with the changes your child is going through.

April 29, 2013 [ ] Lessons from the States: Reducing Recidivism and Curbing Corrections Costs Through Justice Reinvestment  Justice Center, The Council of State Governments. Over the past 20 years, state spending on corrections has skyrocketed—from $12 billion in 1988 to more than $52 billion in 2011.1 Declining state revenues and other fiscal factors are putting a serious strain on many states’ criminal justice systems, often putting concerns about the bottom line in competition with public safety. Strategies tested in numerous states and local jurisdictions, however, show that there are effective ways to address the challenge of containing rising corrections costs while also increasing public safety.

April 5, 2013 [ ] Ex-Felons Are About to Get Health Coverage   By Michael Ollove, Staff Writer, The PEW Charitable Trusts.  Newly freed prisoners traditionally walk away from the penitentiary with a bus ticket and a few dollars in their pockets. Starting in January, many of the 650,000 inmates released from prison each year will be eligible for something else: health care by way of Medicaid, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. A sizeable portion of the nearly 5 million ex-offenders who are on parole or probation at any given time will also be covered. The expansion of Medicaid, a key provision of the health care reform law, is the main vehicle for delivering health insurance to former prisoners. Researchers and those who advocate on behalf of ex-convicts hail the change as monumental, saying it will help address the generally poor health of ex-offenders, reduce medical costs and possibly keep them from sliding back into crime.

April 3, 2013 [ ] Reward for Less Recidivism Letter, The New York Times. The poor results of Pennsylvania’s halfway-house system (“[ ]Pennsylvania Study Finds Halfway Houses Don’t Reduce Recidivism,” news article, March 25) could be a catalyst for state corrections systems to transform their relationships with service providers. Fortunately, there are existing programs on which to model the changes. Performance incentive funding programs — which already exist in many states, including California, Illinois and Ohio — are premised on the idea that if a provider returns fewer offenders to prison, the state incurs fewer costs, and some portion of the state savings should be shared with the provider. A [ ]report recently published by the Vera Institute of Justice suggests that states should evaluate a provider’s performance by looking not only at prison commitments but also at other measures like employment and education to ensure that public safety is protected while positive outcomes are still achieved. Successful performance incentive funding programs also ensure that evidence-based practices are incorporated into the incentive funding structure. Bad results are never good news, but with luck, states like Pennsylvania, New Jersey and others will turn them into an opportunity. ALISON SHAMES, New York, March 26, 2013; The writer is associate director of the Center on Sentencing and Corrections at the Vera Institute of Justice.

April 3, 2013 [ ] Lessons Learned: Planning And Assessing A Law Enforcement Reentry Strategy  A report prepared by the Council of State Governments Justice Center (CSG Justice Center) for the Office of Community Oriented Policy Services (COPS), U.S. Department of Justice. The report describes how four law enforcement agencies used the principles to engage in local-level reentry partnerships in order to reduce crime and increase public safety in their jurisdictions. In addition to the publication of Lessons Learned, an interactive  assessment tool was launched that is a companion to Planning and Assessing a Law Enforcement Reentry Strategy. This tool is meant to allow local sites to assess and improve the current state of practice as it relates to their reentry effort. This tool can be used by both law enforcement, corrections staff, community corrections professionals, and faith- and community-based services providers to facilitate an informed discussion among law enforcement agencies and community partners about reentry strategies.

March 8, 2013 [ ] U.S. Prison Count Continues to Drop  By The Pew Charitable Trusts, State and Consumer Initiatives.   After nearly four decades of explosive growth, the U.S. prison population declined for two years in a row, according to the Justice Department. Inmate counts fell in about half the states in each year from 2009-10 and 2010-11.  Over the past five years, the imprisonment rate fell in 29 states. California, which was ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to reduce its prison population, led the way with a 17 percent drop. Nine other states reduced their imprisonment rates between 2006 and 2011 by double digits: Hawaii (16 percent), Massachusetts (15 percent), Michigan (15 percent), New Jersey (14 percent), Alaska (13 percent), New York (13 percent), Connecticut (11 percent), Delaware (10 percent), and South Carolina (10 percent). At the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia had the highest level of growth among 20 states that increased in their imprisonment rates, rising by 17 percent. Other growth leaders include Arizona (16 percent), Pennsylvania (14 percent), Arkansas (12 percent), Alabama (9 percent), Indiana (8 percent), Illinois (7 percent), Florida (6 percent), and Mississippi and Tennessee (5 percent each).

_________________2 0 1 2___________________

November 30, 2012 [ ] New Faith-Based Dormitory in Michigan Seeks to Reduce Recidivism By Steve Rempe, November 15, 2012, Prison Fellowship.  A new faith-based dormitory is scheduled to open at the Muskegon Correctional Facility in Michigan later this month.  The facility will be run by Prison Fellowship staff, and will seek to prepare inmates to return to life outside of prison, fully reconciled to their families and their communities. Ultimately, the program plans to house 160 prisoners who are within 2-4 years of release.  Between 75 and 100 prisoners have already signed-up for the initial 40 slots. According to prison warden Sherry Burt, the program seeks to address  issues such as anger, substance abuse, and taking responsibility for one’s actions.  She suggests that if the program proves effective in reducing recidivism, it could be expanded to other facilities throughout the state, or even the establishment of an entire faith-based facility. Studies of similar programs in other states have shown a decrease in reoffending rates for participants.  A report released in February of this year focusing on a Prison Fellowship-run facility in Minnesota found that participation in the program resulted in a 26-40 percent reduction in recidivism.

November 30, 2012 [ ] How to Cut Prison Costs   The New York Times November 10. 2012.  Thanks in part to the federal Second Chance Act of 2008, states are finding creative ways to cut prison costs — now more than $52 billion a year nationwide — by making sure that people who are released from prison actually stay out. The act, aimed at helping states and localities reduce recidivism, encourages changes like those that have already taken place in Kansas, Texas and Oregon. The states have expanded community-based drug treatment programs, improved postprison supervision and retooled parole systems that once shunted people back to jail not for actual crimes but for technical violations that are more cheaply and effectively dealt with through community-based sanctions like house arrest or mandatory drug treatment. Still, states that want to cut recidivism rates deeply and permanently must also rethink thousands of laws and regulations that punish ex-offenders after they leave jail by denying them jobs, homes and basic credentials like drivers’ licenses.

November 21, 2012 [ ] Jali gets federal funds for anti-recidivism efforts  Targeted News Service. PITTSBURGH — Allegheny County  Executive Rich Fitzgerald today announced that the Jail Collaborative has received a third year of funding in the amount of $1.2 million under the U.S. Department of Justice Second Chance Act Demonstration Programs to support the Allegheny County Reentry Initiative begun in 2010. The Jail Collaborative is a cooperative effort of the County Jail, Department of Human Services, Health Department and Court of Common Pleas. It was formed in 1999 with the purpose of improving public safety, reducing recidivism, and increasing success for [ ]inmates following incarceration.  "Allegheny County is committed to putting an end to the cycle of crime and incarceration that too  many in our community find themselves in," said Fitzgerald. "The Allegheny County Jail Collaborative has a proven track record of reducing recidivism by giving inmates the tools they need to succeed after incarceration. The Department of Justice funding will enable us to continue our efforts to reduce repeated crime, which not only improve the lives of former inmates, but also save taxpayer dollars and make our communities safer."

November 20, 2012 [ ] The Conservative War on Prisons  By David Dagan and Steven M. Teles, Washington Monthly, November/December 2012.  Right-wing operatives have decided that prisons are a lot like schools: hugely expensive, inefficient, and in need of root-and-branch reform. Is this how progress will happen in a hyper-polarized world?

September 27, 2012 [ ] Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision: A Shared Framework for Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center today announced the release of Adults with Behavioral Health Needs under Correctional Supervision: A Shared Framework for Reducing Recidivism and Promoting Recovery. The report is written for policymakers, system administrators, and front-line service providers committed to improving outcomes for men and women with behavioral health disorders on probation or returning to the community from prison or jail. The report introduces a framework that can be used at the corrections and behavioral health systems level to prioritize scarce resources based on objective assessments of individuals’ risk of committing a future crime and their treatment and support needs. The report on the Criminogenic Risk and Behavioral Health Needs Framework was supported by the U.S. Justice Department’s National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), and by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

September 25, 2012 [ ] States Report Reductions in Recidivism This brief summarizes recent data provided to the Council of State Governments Justice Center’s National Reentry Resource Center by a select group of states that carefully monitor changes in their recidivism rates. The brief highlights significant statewide recidivism reductions achieved in Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont. For each state highlighted, this brief also reviews strategies that, according to their own qualitative assessments, these states believe have contributed to the decline in their recidivism rates. For each state, this brief compares three-year post-release recidivism rates for two cohorts: people exiting prison in 2005 and those released in 2007. This data is among the most current available for statewide three-year recidivism rates.

September 5, 2012 [ ] Frequently Asked Questions about Communities and Families Involved with the Criminal Justice System The National Reentry Resource Center recently published a set of frequently asked questions about the involvement of communities and families in the criminal justice system. The FAQ, prepared by the NRRC’s Committee on Communities and Families, is one in a series of FAQ publications on the range of issues related to prison and jail reentry. More than half of all people in prison are a parent to a minor child—an estimated 1.7 million children in the U.S. have a parent in prison. Research on family involvement indicates that people who engage more with their families while incarcerated and after their release recidivate less frequently and experience other positive outcomes—such as finding housing and employment—at a higher rate than people who do not maintain contact with their families. Addressing community and family engagement of people reentering communities through comprehensive reentry planning and coordinating transitional services has the potential to improve post-release outcomes, including stronger families and communities. This FAQ, written for reentry practitioners and people who are currently and formerly incarcerated, as well as their families, friends, and community, covers a range of issues related to reentry. It describes current research, challenges to reentry and family reunification, and best practices for improving reentry outcomes, including examples of effective programs and policies that support successful reentry. The FAQ is meant to be a “living” document that will be updated as new information becomes available.

August 28, 2012 [ ] Department of Labor Convenes National Summit on Reentry and Employment By Stephanie Joson and Phoebe Potter, Council of State Governments Justice Center - On July 31, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) held a summit in Washington, D.C. on reentry and employment, featuring speakers from federal and local government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and businesses across the country. In addition to giving attendees the opportunity to pose questions to panelists, DOL officials also asked attendees to share their best practices for working with individuals returning to communities after incarceration and for building support among employers to hire individuals with criminal records.

June 28, 2012 [ ] County Jails and the Affordable Care Act: Enrolling Eligible Individuals in Health Coverage The US Supreme Court's decision of today on the Affordable Care Act will affect all Americans, including those in correctional facilities.  In March 2012, the Community Services Division of the National Association of Counties (NACo) completed and produced this issue brief through support of the Public Welfare Foundation.  In 2014 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will provide new health insurance coverage options for millions of individuals through an expansion of Medicaid eligibility and the establishment of state-based health insurance exchanges.  This brief examines ways that counties may be involved in eligibility determination and enrollment processes for these newly eligible individuals, focusing particularly on issues related to enrolling qualified individuals held in county jails as pre-adjudicated detainees and inmates preparing to reenter the community.  Specifically the brief assesses some of the potential issues and challenges county jail and human services staff may face in terms of enrollment procedures.  The brief also highlights examples of existing county-based enrollment strategies that may be able to serve as models for developing processes to enroll individuals in county jails who become newly eligible for health insurance coverage in 2014.

June 22, 2012 [ ] Illinois Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health and Justice On Thursday, June 7, 2012, the Illinois Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health and Justice celebrated its official opening.  Based in Rockford and serving all Illinois counties, the Center promotes, coordinates, and provides training to communities looking to implement jail diversion programs and problem-solving courts for mentally ill and/or substance abusing offenders. The mission of the Center is to equip communities to appropriately respond to the needs of persons with behavioral health disorders who are involved in the criminal justice system. To accomplish that mission, the Center will provide technical assistance, training, and resources to improve systemic responses for persons with mental health and/or substance use disorders involved in the criminal justice system.

June 14, 2012 [ ] Recidivism Hard to Shake for Ex-Offenders Returning Home to Dim Prospects  By Trymaine Lee, Huffington Post, 06/09/2012  As Rudy Holder walked down East Harlem's main drag, everyone seemed to remember him. One man after another greeted him with a handshake or a quick, one-armed hug. Each exchange brought a nervous look to Holder's face: Friend or foe? Some of the men he recognized. Some he didn't. But they all knew him.  "Trouble," they said, again and again. It was the nickname he'd earned as a teenager.  After serving 12 years in prison, Rudy Holder had come home to East Harlem on parole, joining the 725,000 others who are released from correctional facilities each year across the country. Holder's crime was gunning down two rivals, neither fatally, in 1993. In returning to Harlem, he was hoping to avoid the cycle that engulfs so many ex-convicts and lands them back in jail time after time.  Of the 7 million Americans (1 in 33) who were incarcerated, on probation or parole in 2010, more than 4 in 10 can be expected to return to prison within three years, according to a [ ]2011 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts' Center on the States.

June 13, 2012 [ ] The "God Pod" They're preaching the gospel, not from the pulpit, but from the pen, or rather, the Yakima county jail. And more specifically, the "God Pod"... where these 24 women live and worship as one. "You can get through the day. Next thing you know you can get through all the time..." inmate Maria Howard says. Maria says she was in and out of jail for years...Then, she found the God Pod. She credits the bible study for helping her get over her anger, to forgive herself.

May 31, 2012 [ ] Transition from Jail to Community Phase 2 Application Available The National Institute of Corrections and the Urban Institute are pleased to solicit applications to select six new Transition from Jail to Community (TJC) Initiative sites. The TJC Initiative is a model approach for jails and local communities to collaboratively address the reentry challenges faced by individuals returning from jail, in order to enhance public safety and improve reintegration outcomes. Beginning in September 2012, six jurisdictions will receive TJC technical assistance over two and a half years. The application for prospective sites is [ ]available here. Submissions from prospective sites will be due June 30, 2012. The application provides background and sets forth the requirements for jurisdictions to be considered for selection as one of the new TJC jurisdictions.  There will be a webinar for prospective applicants on June 7, at 2 pm EDT. You can join the webinar on the 7th using [ ]this link. The webinar password is tjc.

May 23, 2012 [ ] Attorney General Eric Holder Convenes 3rd Federal Reentry Council Meeting  Attorney General Eric Holder today convened the third meeting of the federal interagency Reentry Council at the Department of Justice.  The council represents 20 federal agencies working to make communities safer by reducing recidivism and victimization;  assist those who return from prison and jail in becoming productive citizens; and save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration. The Attorney General chairs the council which he established in January 2011.  “When reentry fails, the costs—both societal and economic—are high,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “Our joint commitment is to eliminate barriers to successful reentry by improving employment, housing, treatment and education opportunities for individuals who have been incarcerated so they can support themselves and their families and contribute to their communities.”

May 23, 2012 [ ] InnerChange Freedom Initiative 15 Years   Fifteen years ago, new seeds of hope were planted in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice with the opening of the InnerChange Freedom Initiative® (IFI) pre-release program at the Carol Vance Unit. The IFI is a reentry program for prisoners based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Inmates begin the program 18 to 24 months before their release date and continue for an additional 12 months once they have returned to the community.  This values-based program is built on the belief that real and lasting change takes place from within. IFI stresses personal responsibility, the value of education and hard work, and care of persons and property.

May 17, 2012 [ ] Policy: Allowable Uses for Second Chance Act Program Grant Funds This guidance has been issued to inform Second Chance Act grant recipients that a wide range of legal services may be an appropriate use of funds where such services further the Second Chance Act’s purpose to “break the cycle of criminal recidivism, increase public safety and help States, local units of government, and Indian Tribes, better address the growing population of criminal offenders who return to their communities and commit new crimes.”  The Office of Justice Programs, through a number of its bureaus, is working to reduce recidivism and its attendant fiscal and social costs and increase the safety of our communities. One of the largest efforts is the administration of the Second Chance Act of 2007. The Second Chance Act Programs are designed to help communities develop and implement comprehensive and collaborative strategies that address the challenges posed by offender reentry and recidivism reduction.

May 17, 2012 [ ] First Veteran Exclusive Jail Dorm Opens By Elizabeth Prann - A Georgia sheriff says he is opening the first county jail in the U.S. exclusively for inmates who are military veterans. "The people in the veterans dorm get access to programs that will hopefully be addressing their concerns or needs," said Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr. "When they transition back into the community we don't have the problem [of recidivism.]" Darr went on to say, true crime prevention is having people not commit the same offense or crimes over and over again. He wants to keep folks from circulating in and out of the jail system. And it's not costing his community a dime. All the programs that help these inmates are volunteer based.

May 16, 2012 [ ] Prison Bed Profiteers: How Corporations are Reshaping Criminal Justice in the U.S.  By Christopher Hartney & Caroline Glesman, National Council on Crime & Deliquency, May 2012. This report describes the findings of conversations with several experts in corrections privatization, a review of the academic and legal literature on private prisons, and a media review of newspaper and radio stories on private prisons. It also includes recommendations for responding to the expansion of private prisons. Secure, locked facilities designed for adults are the major focus of this report, although many of the same issues and potential solutions apply to other types of privatization, in corrections and elsewhere. Federal immigration detention and contracted services, such as in-custody health care and programming or post-release supervision and services, are also briefly discussed.

April 25, 2012 [ ] EEOC Issues Enforcement Guidance - Commission Updates Guidance on Employer Use of Arrest and Conviction Records The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued an updated [ ]Enforcement Guidance on employer use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII).  While Title VII does not prohibit an employer from requiring applicants or employees to provide information about arrests, convictions or incarceration, it is unlawful to discriminate in employment based on race, color, national origin, religion, or sex.  The guidance builds on longstanding guidance documents that the EEOC issued over twenty years ago.  Among other topics, the guidance discusses: (a) How an employer’s use of an individual’s criminal history in making employment decisions could violate the prohibition against employment discrimination under Title VII; (b) Federal court decisions analyzing Title VII as applied to criminal record exclusions; (c) The differences between the treatment of arrest records and conviction records; (d) The applicability of disparate treatment and disparate impact analysis under Title VII; (e) Compliance with other federal laws and/or regulations that restrict and/or prohibit the employment of individuals with certain criminal records; and (f) Best practices for employers.

April 2012 [ ] Evaluation of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funded a multiyear, multisite evaluation of programs funded under a collaborative federal effort — the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI). The goal of the initiative, which started in 2003, was to improve reentry outcomes along five dimensions: criminal justice, employment, education, health and housing. The purposes of the evaluation, initiated in 2004, were to determine the extent to which participation in SVORI programs improved access to reentry services and programs and resulted in improved outcomes in the areas of housing, education, employment and criminal behavior.  Participation in SVORI programming increased access to reentry services and programs. For example, SVORI program participants were significantly more likely to have reentry plans upon release. The provision of such services, however, significantly decreased after release. This finding was supported by self-report survey data collected from program participants and directors.

April 22, 2012 [;contentBody ] The Incarceration Nation - CBS Sunday Morning News  The United States incarcerates a greater percentage of our population than any other nation - nearly 2.4 million Americans are behind bars, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $63 billion a year. Correspondent Martha Teichner looks into how that bleak statistic came about, and at efforts being made to change this.

March 2012 [ ] Public Opinion on Sentencing and Corrections in America  On behalf of the Pew Center on the States, Public Opinion Strategies and the Mellman Group conducted phone interviews with 1,200 likely voters nationwide on January 10-15, 2012.  Key takeaways from the survey were: (1) American voters believe too many people are in prison and the nation spends too much on imprisonment; (2) Voters overwhelmingly support a variety of policy changes that shift non-violent offenders from prison to more effective, less expensive alternatives; and, (3) Support for sentencing and corrections reforms (including reduced prison terms) is strong across political parties, regions, age, gender, and racial/ethnic groups.

March 22, 2012 [ ] Religion in Prisons - A 50-State Survey of Prison Chaplains Overwhelmingly, state prison chaplains consider religious counseling and other religion-based programming an important aspect of rehabilitating prisoners. Nearly three-quarters of the chaplains (73%), for example, say they consider access to religion-related programs in prison to be “absolutely critical” to successful rehabilitation of inmates. Among chaplains working in prisons that have religion-related rehabilitation or re-entry programs, more than half (57%) say the quality of such programs has improved over the last three years and six-in-ten (61%) say participation in such programs has gone up. The survey was conducted from Sept. 21 to Dec. 23, 2011, using Web and paper questionnaires. The Pew Forum attempted to contact all 1,474 professional chaplains working in state prisons across the country, and 730 chaplains returned completed questionnaires, a response rate of nearly 50%. Generous financial support for this effort was provided by the [ ]Annie E. Casey Foundation.

March 6, 2012 [ ] State Leader's National Forum on Reentry and Recidivism  Access to the agenda, presentation slides, and video segments from the State Leaders' National Forum on Reentry and Recidivism is provided at this website. Those individuals tasked with reducing the recidivism of released inmates' will want to pay a visit here. "Drawing on lessons learned from reentry policies, programs, and research, [this forum] aimed to position states to leave the event with the outlines of a plan that had the following elements: set specific goals that include concrete reductions in recidivism; design plans to achieve these goals that draw on the latest research and experiences from the field; and identify benchmarks that states agree are ambitious, yet realistic, that state and federal policy makers can use to track progress towards recidivism reduction.” Videos from the forum are: Pew—reducing recidivism; welcome; the role of the corrections Director in reentry and reducing recidivism; recent national and federal state-by-state trends in recidivism; policies and practices essential to reducing recidivism; panel discussion about setting recidivism reduction goals and realizing those targets; how police executives responded to the challenge from elected officials to reduce crime; and next steps—Working together to reach our goals.

February 23, 2012 [ ] IFI Program Working in Minnesota by Steve Rempe/February 14, 2012.  A new [ ]report from the Minnesota Department of Corrections shows just how successful Prison Fellowship's InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI) has been in reducing recidivism among former inmates in that state.  The study looks at 732 offenders released between 2003 and 2009.  After following these ex-prisoners for three years, the study found that participation in the program decreased the risk of reoffending between 26 and 40 percent.  Because IFI does not incur any additional costs to the state, the program is cost-effective, and even has the residual effect or reducing reincarceration and victimization costs.  Much of the credit to the program is given to the "continuum of mentoring support" IFI members receive both during their time behind bars and after their release.  The [ ]report summary highlights the work of these volunteers, as well as the cirriculum.

February 22, 2012 [ ] Reasons Given for Not Receiving Alcohol or Illicit Drug Treatment  An estimated 20.5 million people needed but did not receive alcohol or drug treatment in the past year, according to data from the 2010 National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The primary reason for not receiving treatment among those who were classified as needing—and felt they needed—treatment was not being ready to stop using alcohol or illicit drugs (40.2%). The second most commonly cited reason for not receiving treatment was having no health coverage and not being able to afford the cost (32.9%). People in need of alcohol treatment were more likely than those in need of drug treatment to cite not being ready to stop using (45.1% vs. 30.7%; data not shown), while those needing drug treatment were more likely to cite not having health coverage and could not afford the cost (41.8% vs. 30.9%; data not shown). Other reasons given were not knowing where to go for treatment, thinking that going to treatment might have a negative effect on their job or social relationships, or thinking that they could handle the problem without treatment.

February 15, 2012 [ ] Older Inmates Adjust to Life Outside Prison By David Yeager, Social Work Today, Vol. 12 No. 1 P. 28, Jan/Feb 2012 Issue - The transition from prison to life on the outside can be difficult for anyone, but for older adults the challenge of reintegrating into society is often compounded by the difficulties associated with aging. Historically, prison populations have been comprised mostly of young men, but demographic changes in society as well as changes in sentencing guidelines for some crimes have contributed to growth in the aging populations of prisons. The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Prison Inmates at Midyear 2009 report estimated the number of inmates aged 55 and older at 110,800, more than twice the number of inmates in that age group from the Midyear 2000 report. Including inmates aged 50 to 54, the estimated number of older inmates in 2009 was 231,500, which was more than 10% of the total inmate population.

February 13, 2012 [ ] National Girls Institute The National Girls Institute (NGI) is a federally-funded partnership between the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). NGI is a research-based training and resource clearinghouse designed to advance understanding of girls’ issues and improve program and system responses to girls in the juvenile justice system. NGI activities include conducting a national assessment of training and technical assistance needs; developing standards of care; providing access to relevant resources; and providing gender-responsive training and technical assistance. NGI provides direction for advancing the application of research and information to practice to improve national, state, and local responses to girls, and assists agencies to improve capacity by providing training and technical assistance along the entire continuum of services to better meet the needs of girls and staff who work with them.

February 2, 2012 [ ] Implications of the Federal Health Legislation on Justice-Involved Populations  This document addresses the implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) for justice-involved adults. It first considers their needs and barriers to treatment. Other sections address how the health reform legislation expands these adults’ eligibility for Medicaid and what services will be made available, the requirements and exemptions specified by the legislation, and how enrollment will take place.

February 1, 2012 [ ] National Reentry Resource Center FAQs   Each of the NRRC Advisory Committees is developing a series of FAQs that address key issues for successful reentry.  Additional FAQs will be published in the upcoming months. The FAQs currently available on the NRRC website are under the following headings: (1) Employment & Education; (2) Health, Mental Health, and Substance Use Disorders; (3) Housing; (4) Juvenile Justice; (5) Tribal Reentry; and (6) Victims.

January 20, 2012 [ ] Too Good to be True - Private Prisons in America  In 2010, private prisons held 128,195 of the 1.6 million state and federal prisoners in the United States, representing eight percent of the total population. For the period 1999-2010, the number of individuals held in private prisons grew by 80 percent, compared to 17 percent for the overall prison population. While both federal and state governments increasingly relied on privatization, the federal prison system’s commitment to privatization grew much more dramatically. The number of federal prisoners held in private prisons rose from 3,828 to 33,830, an increase of 784 percent, while the number of state prisoners incarcerated privately grew by 40 percent, from 67,380 to 94,365. Today, 30 states maintain some level of privatization, with seven states housing more than a quarter of their prison populations privately.

January 19, 2012 [ ] The Effects of Prison Visitation on Offender Recidivism  The Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC) recently completed a study that examined the effects of prison visitation on offender recidivism. Using an average follow-up period of nearly five years, the study evaluated the relationship between prison visitation and recidivism among 16,420 offenders released from Minnesota prisons between 2003 and 2007.  Key findings included the following: (1) Offenders who were visited in prison were significantly less likely to recidivate. The reductions in recidivism were 13 percent for a felony reconviction, and 25 percent for reincarceration for a technical violation revocation; (2) Nearly 40 of the offenders were not visited once while in prison; (3) Visits from siblings, in-laws, fathers and clergy were the most beneficial in lowering recidivism; (4) The frequency with which inmates were visited had a significant effect on recidivism - inmates visited more often were less likely to recidivate; (5) Visits closer to an offender’s release date had a greater impact on reducing recidivism; and, (6) The larger an offender’s social support system, the lower the risk for recidivism - the total number of different individual visitors an offender had was significantly associated with less recidivism.

_____________________2 0 1 1__________________

December 2011 [ ] Mental Health & Corrections  The percentage of prison offenders with serious mental illness has tripled in the past three decades to about 15 to 20 percent today. The December 2011 issue of Corrections Today is entitled "Mental Health" with articles addressing a number of issues related to mental health, including the following: self-injurious behavior in corrections; the mental health crisis in corrections; correctional mental health reentry; behavior management plans; forensic mental health; reducing recidivism among mentally ill offenders; borderline personality disorders; and, correctional workers and stress.

December 23, 2011 [ ] Reducing Recidivism: Corrections directors in five states share lessons learned States spend $50 billion a year on corrections, yet four out of ten prisoners wind up back behind bars within three years of release. In this short video produced by the [ ]Pew Center on the States, you can learn how states are breaking this cycle of recidivism, and saving money, by implementing evidence-based programs and policies including risk assessment, fiscal incentives and swift and certain sanctions.

December 23, 2011 [ ] State Leaders' National Forum on Reentry and Recidivism  On December 8, Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress, as well as representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice, joined teams of policymakers and corrections officials from all 50 states to highlight how the federal government can work in partnership with states to reduce recidivism. The event was sponsored by the Council of State Governments Justice Center (the National Reentry Resource Center is a project of the Justice Center); the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice; the Association of State Correctional Administrators; the Public Welfare Foundation; and the Pew Center on the States. Key policymakers spoke to the importance of adopting evidence-based strategies and the substantial fiscal impact that reducing recidivism can have on state corrections budgets. Data presented at the forum by the Pew Center on the States showed that if just the 10 states with the greatest potential cost savings reduced their recidivism rates by 10 percent, they could save more than $470 million in a single year. Other data highlighted that although recidivism rates seem stubbornly flat nationally, with more than four in ten offenders returning to prison within three years of release, many individual states have made dramatic reductions. The forum was designed to help participants learn about strategies that are working in states that have reduced these rates of recidivism. Drawing on lessons learned from reentry policies, programs, and research, teams from each state discussed what recidivism reduction goals make sense for their state, how they might achieve these goals, and what benchmarks could be set to measure progress.

November 2, 2011 [ ] Prisoner Reentry and the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act  In July of 2009, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) approved for the first time model legislation—the Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act—designed to facilitate offender reentry throughout the United States. A revised Act was approved in July 2010 and published on January 6, 2011. Model or uniform legislation such as this does not carry the force of law; the NCCUSL is an advisory organization only. Nevertheless, uniform acts approved by the NCCUSL have been, and continue to be, tremendously important in shaping the development of law across the country. The newly approved Uniform Collateral Consequences Act is currently under consideration in Nevada, West Virginia, and Wisconsin—it has important implications for Alaska law as well. This article describes its provisions and its implications for Alaska. A bibliography for futher reading is also included.

October 11, 2011 [ ] New Study Will Examine Correctional Education in the US  In a workshop titled, “An Examination of Correctional Education in the U.S.,” presented at the 141st Congress of Correction in Kissimmee, Fla., Lois Davis, Ph.D., senior policy researcher for RAND Corp. outlined a new study of correctional education that is being funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) through the Second Chance Act. Joining Davis on the panel were Steve Steurer, Ph.D., executive director of the Correctional Education Association (CEA) and Bill Sondervan, Ph.D., professor and executive director of public safety outreach at University of Maryland University College. The panel was moderated by Carl Nink, executive director of Management and Training Corp. Gary Dennis, senior policy advisor for corrections for BJA introduced the study by explaining that RAND will be receiving the second largest grant from the Second Chance Act, totaling $2.5 million over 18 months. The study will be conducted through a partnership between BJA, RAND and CEA on the premise that “The more education an offender receives when they’re in [prison], the less likely they are to recidivate,” Dennis said. He went on to explain that there are correctional education programs all over the country that have not been examined, and this study will give BJA the opportunity to identify the positive things that are happening in the field. These areas with known, yet unexamined programs are referred to as “pockets of excellence.”

September 20, 2011 [ ] Focus on Education for the Formerly Incarcerated  A recent “Challenge to Lead” brief from the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) examines how increased postsecondary opportunities could benefit adults with criminal records.  The brief details barriers that ex-offenders face as they attempt to continue their education (e.g., state and federal restrictions on financial aid) and highlights successful state re-entry programs designed to help them transition back into their communities once released. In addition, the brief suggests that a correlation exists between improving inmate education and reducing rates of recidivism.  Extending educational opportunities to former inmates may prevent future criminal behavior and incarceration and allow them to lead productive and stable lives.

September 6, 2011 [ ] Violence remains in top 10 causes of death Suicide, child abuse, playground fights, gang violence, sexual assault, and domestic violence are just a few examples of violence that touch people in all walks of life and communities everywhere. Homicide and suicide remain in the top ten leading causes of death for people from birth to age 64. How do you combat an issue that takes so many forms and has so many causes? The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (published by SAGE) have developed a special issue to take a closer look at violence prevention. The special issue published in the September/October 2011 issue is entitled "Lifestyle Medicine, Public Health and Violence."

August 30, 2011 [ ] Federal Interagency Reentry Council "Reentry MythBusters" Series The Federal Interagency Reentry Council (Council) includes the Departments of Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Veterans Affairs, and the offices of National Drug Control Policy, Social Security Administration, Domestic Policy Council, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The mission of the Council is to support the Administration’s efforts in advancing public safety and well-being through enhanced communication, coordination, and collaboration across Federal agency initiatives that: (1) make communities safer by reducing recidivism and victimization; (2) assist those returning from prison and jail in becoming productive citizens; and, (3) save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration. To download the entire set of 14 topic areas of Reentry MythBusters, click on the link under item #4 Action Requested on the DOL Training and Employment Notice, August 30, 3011.

August 5, 2011 [ ] Offender Employment Retention Specialist (OERS) Training  Offender workforce development programs should target offenders at high risk for recidivism, address the dynamic influences that predict crime, and provide intervention specific to the needs of the offender. The Employment Retention Initiative supports the development of strength-based programs administered by qualified and well-trained staffs to assess offenders at high risk for job loss, identify specific job loss indicators, and provide support to break the chain of event and/or behaviors that result in termination. Training dates are January 9-13, 2012.  Applications due by October 14, 2011.

August 4, 2011 [ ] Offender Workforce Development Services Makes an Impact  by Eric Lichtenberger and Scott Weygandt; NIC Update. Results from an ongoing evaluation project on the effectiveness of offender workforce development (OWD) services are presented. “Drug and alcohol abuse and/or not continuing substance abuse treatment was identified as almost a universal barrier to post-release success” (p. 67). Those individuals that receive OWD services have a recidivism rate 33% lower than the comparison group.

July 7, 2011 [ ] Setting an Agenda for Family-Focused Justice Reform  Research shows that incarcerated youth and adults who have contact with supportive family members have better outcomes after their release. The Vera Institute of Justice brought together national experts from a range of fields to talk about the next steps for family-focused justice reform. Drawing on that conversation, this report sets forth an agenda for family-focused justice reform with the following recommendations: (1) Emphasize safety and security; (2) Borrow and adapt from best practices to develop a model; (3) Encourage more contact between incarcerated individuals and their supportive family members; (4) Involve family members in shaping practice and policy; (5) Conduct more research and gather more data; (6) Reinforce a family-focused culture through practice, policy, and legislation;and, (7) Prioritize a family-focused approach when making budget decisions.

July 5, 2011 [ ]  The Office of Justice Programs' new website is a central, reliable, and credible resource to inform practitioners and policy makers about what works in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services, and to help them integrate these findings into programmatic and policy decisions. The site is a searchable online database of evidence-based programs covering a range of justice-related topics, including corrections, courts, crime prevention, substance abuse, juveniles, law enforcement, forensics, and victims. It includes information on more than 150 programs and assigns "evidence ratings" – effective, promising, or no effects -- to indicate whether the research proves that a program achieves its goals.

May 31, 2011 [ ] Higher Return to Prison for Women Without Drug Abuse Programs; Many Barriers to Treatment Programs, Study Finds ScienceDaily - Female prisoners who did not participate in a drug treatment program after their release were 10 times more likely to return to prison within one year than other prisoners, a new study has found. More than one-third of those women were sent back to prison within six months, according to the national study led by Flora Matheson, a medical sociologist at St. Michael's Hospital. The findings, published in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health, underline the importance of post-release treatment programs for prisoners with substance abuse problems, Matheson said.

May 18, 2011 [ ] Private Prisons Found to Offer Little in Savings  The New York Times - PHOENIX - The conviction that private prisons save money helped drive more than 30 states to turn to them for housing inmates. But Arizona shows that popular wisdom might be wrong: Data there suggest that privately operated prisons can cost more to operate than state-run prisons — even though they often steer clear of the sickest, costliest inmates. The state’s experience has particular relevance now, as many politicians have promised to ease budget problems by trimming state agencies. Florida and Ohio are planning major shifts toward private prisons, and Arizona is expected to sign deals doubling its private-inmate population. The measures would be a shot in the arm for an industry that has struggled, in some places,   to fill prison beds as the number of inmates nationwide has leveled off. But hopes of big taxpayer benefits might end in disappointment, independent experts say.

May 18, 2011 [ ] Federal Interagency Reentry Council  "Working together for safer, healthier communities." In January 2011 Attorney General Eric Holder convened the inaugural meeting of the interagency Reentry Council. The purpose of this group is to bring together numerous federal agencies to make communities safer, assist those returning from prison and jail in becoming productive, tax-paying citizens, and save taxpayer dollars by lowering the direct and collateral costs of incarceration.  Substantial commitments were made as result of the meeting. The Council also empowered staff—now representing 18 federal departments and agencies—to work towards a number of goals. And the Council agreed to meet every 6 months, with its next meeting to occur in July.  “Reentry provides a major opportunity to reduce recidivism, save taxpayer dollars, and make our communities safer.”—Attorney General Eric Holder

April 13, 2011 [ ] State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America's Prisons More than four in ten offenders nationwide return to state prison within three years of their release despite a massive increase in state spending on prisons, according to a Pew report.  States today spend more than $50 billion a year on corrections, yet recidivism rates remain stubbornly high. As the slumping economy forces states to do more with less, policy makers are looking for a better public safety return on their corrections dollars. While overall figures are discouraging, the report highlights the strategies that three states— [ ]Michigan, [ ]Missouri and [ ]Oregon— have employed to reduce returns to prison.

April 8, 2011 [ ] 65 Million "Need Not Apply" - The Case for Reforming Criminal Background Checks for Employment 65 million Americans with criminal records face unprecedented employment barriers. More than one-in-four U.S. adults have arrests or convictions that show up in a routine criminal background check. This new report from the National Employment Law Project surveys Craigslist job ads and finds that illegal no-hire policies are a common practice.

April 8, 2011 [ ] Webinar: A Brighter Future: Pre-Release and Reentry Into the Community This webinar, scheduled for May 11, 2011, is the fourth in a four-part series sponsored by the National Congress of American Indians. To learn more about this webinar series, click on the link or contact Kay Chopard Cohen at [ ] or Katy Jackman at [ ]

April 1, 2011 [ ] Health Care Expands For Ex-Offenders In California  OAKLAND, Calif. — Like thousands of people who leave prison every year in California, Stanley Riley has serious health problems and no money for treatment.  During his 13 years of incarceration for robbery and an assortment of drug crimes, he could count on getting medication for high blood pressure and diabetes. But when he was released in 2008, all he got was a standard issue three-month supply.  "That scares you," Riley, 54, says. "They already knew I was going to have a problem. They already knew it was not going to be that easy."  Now help is on the way. In coming months, local governments in California stand to gain tens of millions of dollars in federal funds to care for the indigent, including ex-offenders.  Alameda and Contra Costa counties expect substantial assistance. Santa Clara and San Mateo counties also hope to qualify. State officials estimate 500,000 people without health insurance will benefit, beginning as early as June.  

March 31, 2011 [ ] FAQs - Implications of the Federal Health Legislation on Justice-Involved Populations The Council of State Governments Justice Center (which coordinates the Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project) has released this document which examines how the health reform legislation expands an adults’ eligibility for Medicaid and what services will now be available to them, the requirements and exemptions specified by the legislation, and how Medicaid enrollment will take place. Individuals in the criminal justice system have disproportionately high rates of chronic disease and behavioral health disorders when compared to the general population.  Survey data indicate that one year after release, as many as 60 percent of former inmates are not employed in the regular labor market.  Without insurance or adequate income to pay for health care services out of pocket, it is difficult for individuals returning to the community to access medical services and prescription drugs. As a result, their chronic conditions and health may deteriorate. The provisions of the PPACA may serve to break this cycle of un-insurance, poor health, and high costs.

February 23-25, 2011 [ ] 2011 Second Chance Act Conference - "Making the Most of Second Chances" - Senior officials from the Department of Justice, reentry experts, formerly incarcerated individuals, victims, and representatives of programs receiving federal funding through the Second Chance Act (Public Law 110-199) come together for a three-day conference, Making the Most of Second Chances, in Washington, DC. This second annual national conference for Second Chance Act grantees was convened by the [ ]Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, with support from the [ ]Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), U.S. Department of Justice. The objectives of the conference were to provide (a) a forum for peer-to-peer networking, where grantees from across the nation will have an opportunity to meet and discuss challenges and share their experiences; (b) an opportunity for grantees to learn from subject-matter experts in relevant issue areas and receive on-site technical assistance; and (c) more information about the types of technical assistance available to grantees through the National Reentry Resource Center. Videos, PowerPoint presentations, and handouts from conference plenaries and workshops are available on the website of the National Reentry Resource Center.

February 16, 2011 [ ] Number of Adult Prisoners under State Jurisdiction, 2009 - Updated data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics on the number of adult prisoners under state jurisdiction, adult prisoners by gender, and the incarceration rate per 100,000 population have been added for all states and the nation for 2009.

February 3, 2011 [ ] Prisoner Recividism Analysis Tool -This analysis tool allows users to calculate recidivism rates for persons released from state prisons. Recidivism rates may be generated for the entire sample of released prisoners or for released prisoners with specific demographic, criminal history, and sentence attributes. The tool uses data collected by BJS on a sample of persons released from state prisons in 1994 and followed for a 3-year period. These are the most recent recidivism data available until a new BJS study on the recidivism of state prisoners released in 2005 is published in 2012.

__________________2 0 1 0__________________

November 9, 2010 [ ] Corrections Cost Correction - The US today is arguably the most incarcerated society in human history.  The cost of operating prisons is one of the fastest growing areas in state budgets.  The high cost of incarceration is spurring new thinking around every aspect of prison policy.  States are taking a hard look at a variety of strategies for driving down inmate populations, hopefully without sacrificing public safety.  Many states are looking at expanding alternatives to incarceration for low-risk offenders, especially substance abusers, taking steps to improve reentry and reintegration to communities, thus reducing recidivism.

November 4, 2010 [ ] Most California parolees back in prison in 3 years

October 18, 2010 [ ] Inmate locator aid kin finding inmates in California's prisons

September 23, 2010 [ ] Unprecedented effort to seek, test, and treat inmates with HIV

September 22, 2010 [ ] Justice Mapping Center Launches First National Atlas of Criminal Justice Data

September 2010 is national Recovery Month - for more info and resources, click [ ] here

September 13, 2010 [ ] Older Adult Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Programs More Than Doubled from 1992 - 2008

August 2010 [ ] Offender Programs - Corrections Today Magazine

August 30, 2010 [ fcp://,%231017107/Digital%20File%20Cabinet/GallatinCoMT_CJCC_Recid/PDF Documents/New Jail Newsletter August 2010.pdf ] New Jail Newsletter August 2010

August 23, 2010: The Wall Street Journal [ ] For Some Inmates in Dallas, Jail Feels Just Like Home

July 29, 2010 [ ] New Hampshire Enacts Law to Reduce Recidivism and Generate Savings

Operation Medicine Cabinet Montana 2.0 - September 25
Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock invites you to join "Operation Medicine Cabinet Montana" on Saturday, September 25, 2010 in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-back Day.

As part of the national effort:

-Local sites will accept medications from 10 AM --2 PM on Sept. 25
-DEA will provide collection boxes to local law enforcement agencies
-DEA will pick up collection boxes after the event for destruction
-Law enforcement must staff the event and coordinate with DEA
-There is no need for law enforcement to obtain a DEA permission letter for the September 25 event
-DEA and the Montana Department of Justice will provide some promotion and promotional materials, including posters and PSAs

Please see the attached protocols from DEA and return the registration form no later than August 6 to indicate your interest in participating.

While a law enforcement agency needs to fill out and return the form, non-law enforcement partners are encouraged to work with their local agencies to help make the event a success!

June 21, 2010
Agencies Aim To Clarify Rules on Exchanging Substance Abuse Data
Last week, HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT published guidelines [ ] Health Privacy FAQ  explaining how to legally share a patient's substance abuse records through an electronic health information exchange, [ ] Government Health reports.
A 30-year-old federal law protects the confidentiality of a patient's alcohol and drug abuse records and requires health care providers to obtain patient consent before disclosing the data. The regulation applies to records maintained at federally funded substance abuse programs.
The guidelines, which were issued in a Frequently Asked Questions format, clarify that substance abuse records can be shared via health information exchanges if treatment programs secure patient consent. Health data exchanges also must obtain patient consent before redistributing the electronic records.
In addition, primary care physicians must obtain patient consent before they can access substance abuse information.

According to SAMHSA and ONC, the FAQs are meant to encourage health care organizations to exchange substance abuse records electronically (Mosquera, Government Health IT, 6/18). The FAQs do not aim to provide legal advice (Goedert, Health Data Management [ ] Substance Abuse Privacy Guidelines, 6/17).

Strong Link Between Literacy, Incarceration and Recidivism
This news item (video & print) underscores the importance of working with kids who are struggling in school and working with dropouts to get a GED.  The Utah Office of Education reports that boys who drop out of school are 47 times more likely to be incarcerated than their peers who graduate from college.
[ ] Illiteracy is a strong indicator of future incarceration

      Web Services Provided By:
Gallatin County, Montana
311 West Main Street
Bozeman, MT 59715