Luzerne County officials praise day reporting center at offender transition event

Earlier this summer, in an effort to reduce costs and help curb chronic recidivism, BI Incorporated opened a day reporting program in Luzerne County, Penn. The Luzerne County Day Reporting Center is designed for non-violent offenders in the county’s criminal justice system, including individuals eligible for release from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. The DRC supports community corrections officers to closely monitor offender behavior in the community while they receive treatment and training. Luzerne County’s DRC was modeled after the centers BI operates for Franklin and Cambria counties, also in Pennsylvania.

This month, a batch of 39 offenders successfully completed the program, and a transition celebration event was held with offenders, family members, corrections officials and other local criminal justice professionals to mark the occasion.

Luzerne County Correctional Facility Warden Joseph Piazza praised the DRC program – and an electronic monitoring program BI also operates for the county – for their cost saving benefits. Typically, it costs $94 a day to house an inmate at the county prison. These alternatives to detention reduce that to about $38, saving the county more than $3 million since the programs began, he said.

Eventually the DRC will provide services to 150 offenders. Offenders directed to report to the Luzerne County DRC go through a multi-phase program that includes regular reporting to the center, intensive treatment, training, and ongoing testing for drug and alcohol use. Clients will also participate in classes designed to change criminal behavior, including cognitive behavioral treatment classes;  substance abuse treatment; adult basic education and GED prep; anger management; life skills classes; a program called Community Connections (linkage to community services); and employment skills building.

Some offenders who successfully completed the program also spoke. “The DRC was the light at the end of the tunnel (for me). (The people there) are like family. They want you to succeed, and you don’t want to let them down,” said one program graduate.