Members of the Lycoming County Probation Department and the GEO Reentry Services program manager of the Lycoming County Reentry Service Center delivered a well-received workshop presentation at a national conference for peers this month, after being selected for implementing alternatives to detention, including a reentry service center that delivers treatment and training in the community. Ed McCoy, chief probation officer, and John Stahl, deputy chief of probation, and Mike Boughton, GEO Reentry program manager, presented at the American Probation and Parole Association conference in Miami on March 12.
McCoy, Stahl and Boughton presented “Collaboration, Local Efforts to Implement an Evidenced-Based Reentry Program.” John Hogan, area manager for GEO Reentry Services, moderated the session. Formed in 1975, the American Probation and Parole Association is the largest community corrections group in the United States, representing more than 90,000 professionals.
The workshop focused on challenges the county faced several years ago, and how it brought together members of the local criminal justice system to plan forward by incorporating many alternatives to detention, including the implementation of a comprehensive day reporting program. Specifically, Lycoming County was faced with jail crowding and having to refer inmates to nearby counties at a high cost. As a result, Lycoming County adopted a more flexible approach for managing inmates, probationers and pretrial defendants. In 2014, the county implemented community reentry and supervision programs to support the probation department and lessen crowding at the jail. The new programs included an electronic monitoring program to enhance community supervision for officers as well as the reentry service center, which delivers evidence-based treatment and reintegration services for about 80 individuals at a time.
Since opening, the reentry center has reduced jail crowding by 11%, lowered risk assessment scores and rearrests dramatically, cut transfers to nearby jails to just a few each month, and boosted employment for participants. In 2018, the reentry program recorded a record high number of successful graduates, nearly doubling the 2017 graduate rate. And importantly, very few of the reentry center graduates are reoffending when released from the program. The presentation team also focused on how collaboration between the judiciary, probation, law enforcement officials and local nonprofits has enhanced outcomes.
A recently added video in the GEO Reentry video library highlights the counties challenges and comments from local officials on how they organized and implemented solutions that are helping the county achieve several desired results.