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    Offender re-entry initiative launched

    Reentry initiative panel

    More than 140 professionals charged with improving offender re-entry attended the kickoff event for the Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative. Videoconference remarks by Governor Jennifer Granholm opened the October 14 program which was held on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

    Panel members from left: Deputy Director Dennis Schrantz; Betsy Pash, Administrator, Office of Drug Control Policy, DCH; Don Weatherspoon, Chief Deputy Director, FIA; Robert Johnson, Special Executive Assistant to Director, LEG; Margaret Flanagan, Criminal Justice Policy Advisor, Office of the Governor; Director Patricia L. Caruso.

    The objectives of the initiative are to promote public safety by reducing the threat of harm by released offenders and to increase the success rates of offenders who transition from prison. The overall goal is to reduce Michigan’s costly recidivism rate by fostering effective risk management and treatment programming, offender accountability and community and victim participation.

    A National Institute of Corrections (NIC) grant will provide training, education and on-site technical assistance to help Michigan restructure its transition practices.

    In an effort to reach this goal, a State Policy Team was formed, comprised of top level policy-makers from the Governor’s office, and the Departments of Corrections, Labor and Economic Growth, Community Health and the Family Independence Agency, to create new collaborative approaches to respond to recidivism issues.

    More than 140 professionals charged with improving offender re-entry attended the kickoff event for the Michigan Prisoner Reentry Initiative. Videoconference remarks by Governor Jennifer Granholm opened the October 14 program which was held on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing.

    The objectives of the initiative are to promote public safety by reducing the threat of harm by released offenders and to increase the success rates of offenders who transition from prison. The overall goal is to reduce Michigan’s costly recidivism rate by fostering effective risk management and treatment programming, offender accountability and community and victim participation.
    A National Institute of Corrections (NIC) grant will provide training, education and on-site technical assistance to help Michigan restructure its transition practices.

    In an effort to reach this goal, a State Policy Team was formed, comprised of top level policy-makers from the Governor’s office, and the Departments of Corrections, Labor and Economic Growth, Community Health and the Family Independence Agency, to create new collaborative approaches to respond to recidivism issues.The re-entry initiative event brought together this coalition of corrections professionals and state agencies and included a presentation of the Transition from Prison to Community Initiative (TPCI). This is a model the NIC has tested and developed for improved offender reentry. TPCI was developed through a cooperative agreement between the NIC, a private research and consulting firm and 35 corrections practitioners and academicians to help guide states in their reforms.

    Michigan will plan and implement TPCI reforms through a multi-agency partnership involving the MDOC, state and local law enforcement agencies, criminal justice departments from state universities, neighborhood organizations, faith-based groups, crime victims and members of the general public.

    The NIC grant will help the state move forward in blending the TPCI program into the Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative.

    The major focal points of the Prisoner Re-entry Initiative in Michigan include:

    • The introduction of enhanced Assessment and Classification Guidelines that will improve the process of offender placement, management and programming while confined, as well as decisions regarding the timing and conditions of community release.
    • The development of improved Transition Plans that can effectively span the boundaries of institution and community resources so that responses to offender risk and need are clearly articulated and can be addressed throughout the offender’s institutional confinement.
    • Increased efficiencies in the use of targeted release dates that will be developed from improved structured release guidelines that incorporate locally validated risk-prediction instruments.
    • Improved case management techniques and training of MDOC field agents that focus on accountability and public safety and involve improved methods for offender monitoring, intervention, advocacy and human service delivery.
    • Expanded options for field agents as responses to offender’s community adjustments and achievements while under supervision.
    • Improved discharge practices that effectively link the offender with the community.
    • The development of a voluntary, community-based aftercare support system under the auspices of existing faith-based initiatives that will enhance the chances of ex-offender success after discharge from parole.

    After a presentation of the TPCI model, conference attendees broke into work groups. The groups discussed a variety of topics including inmate assessment and classification, inmate behavior and programming, inmate release preparation, release decision making, parole supervision and services, revocation decision making, parole discharge and aftercare, housing, family and child welfare, alcohol and drug treatment, education, mental and physical health care, vocational training and employment. The work groups will continue to meet to develop a common vision for an improved and fully-integrated system of offender re-entry.

    "The reduction of recidivism and crime is a main goal of this department. The re-entry initiative provides us the forum for real dedicated work in these areas," said FOA Deputy Director Dennis Schrantz. "We have nine different work groups beginning to formulate some preliminary goals. It is going to be a long process, but the effort will be worthwhile if we can help strengthen family and community success of the inmates who are under our charge."

    Michigan Department of Corrections FYI 10-30-03

     

     

     

     

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