In working with counties and correction agencies nationwide, officials at GEO Reentry Services have seen firsthand the importance of targeted, effective programs meant to make an offender’s transition back to the community a smooth one. Empowering an offender to live a productive life once back in the community decreases recidivism risk, strengthens that offender’s community and family, and ultimately improves public safety.
It’s encouraging, then, to see the Justice Department release more than $62 million in grant money to bolster efforts to help those offenders transitioning back into the community. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the grants in mid-November during a visit to a drug reentry court program in St. Louis. Attorney Holder acknowledged the importance and value of effective reentry programs, as well as the importance of breaking the cycle of recidivism that so often happens in more traditional corrections models.
Holder also pointed out that reentry programs are proven to reduce spending, improve outcomes and create safer, stronger communities. The grant money will be divided into 112 awards to be delivered to state, tribal and local governments, as well as non-profit organizations. The money will be used to reduce recidivism, provide reentry programming, and research and evaluate the usefulness of individual programs.
In a press release announcing support for effective reentry programs, the DOJ stated:
Of the over $62 million in funding provided, more than $57 million (91 BJA awards and 19 OJJDP awards) supports smart probation projects, treatment of returning adult and juveniles with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders; adult and juvenile reentry demonstration projects; adult mentoring programs; technology career training projects for incarcerated adults and juveniles; and demonstration field experiments to test a parole reentry model. The remaining $5.4 million supports two awards for evaluation activities and training and technical assistance for Second Chance Act grantees and the reentry field in general.
GEO Reentry works with community corrections officials nationwide to deliver alternatives to detention, including residential reentry programs, day reporting, in-custody treatment and training, and related services.