Five months after it opened a reentry service center to alleviate jail crowding and reduce recidivism, Lycoming County commissioners released initial results and the program is achieving significant savings and reducing jail crowding. According to the commissioners’ office, the center has saved county taxpayers almost $313,000 in its first five months of operation. At the same time, jail crowding has dropped from 32 inmates to just four, with officials expecting this number to drop below zero soon.
Lycoming County selected GEO Reentry Services to open and operate a Reentry Service program in Williamsport for non-violent adult probationers and parolees beginning in September. It selected GEO Reentry after careful analysis of its options and closely reviewing the results of Luzerne County, another county in which GEO Reentry operates.
From Sept. 15, 2014, to Jan. 31, 2015, the net savings to the county was $312,833, calculated after recording 7,791 jail days avoided when offenders were diverted to the center. In January, 2015, the center realized $86,397 in savings and 2,325 in jail days saved, according the county officials.
“When the reentry center opened, we (commissioners) made a commitment to the public to ensure it meets expectations. The fact that it has shown signs of early success is a tribute to our staff’s dedication, participants’ efforts and the program,” said Commissioner Tony Mussare.
The county has partnered with a local college, Lycoming College, to set up systems to analyze recidivism data
GEO Reentry provides treatment and case management services at the Lycoming County Reentry Service Center for court-ordered offenders with the goal of reducing recidivism, preparing them for successful reentry and reducing jail crowding. While the program was originally budgeted for 50 offenders, it grew to 87 offenders in January 2015.
Program participants are referred from several sources, including county probation, parole, treatment court, domestic relations and pretrial. Individuals referred to the program participate in a phased program that includes aftercare. Failure to comply with rules and guidelines of the program results in increased sanctions such as tighter curfews, additional services, more frequent reporting or incarceration.
GEO Reentry Services closely monitors the behavior of individuals referred to the Lycoming County RSC with daily check-ins, drug and alcohol testing and case management. Participants receive the ongoing treatment needed to help break cycles of criminal behavior. Classes include cognitive behavioral therapy, Life skills, anger management as well as employment readiness and GED preparation.