Daily Journal file photo
A San Mateo County inmate speaks to a counselor in the women’s facility. County officials are trying to bridge the gap in funding for a jail re-entry program to reduce recidivism after federal money runs out.
A well-regarded jail re-entry program runs out of federal funding at the end of the month but the county plans to step in to bridge the gap until a new long-term program starts.
Achieve 180, which helps tamp down recidivism and successfully reintegrate inmates by offering emergency assistance, counseling and employment referrals, operated on a five-year $2.94 million federal grant. The efforts preceded what the county does under realignment as part of its Service Connect program due to the county being one of only 14 jurisdictions awarded a federal Second Chance Act grant and one of only two that focused on jail rather than prison populations.
“Realignment has ramped up over the last couple years while Achieve 180 was ramping down,” said Steve Kaplan, director of the county’s Behavior Health and Recovery Services.
Kaplan also credits the Board of Supervisors for stepping up in the middle of the 2009 recession with a $350,000 annual promise of required hard matching funds for the grant.
But once the federal funding is gone at the end of March, so is Achieve 180 — at least in its current form. Behavioral Health and Recovery Services is working with consultant Resource Development Associates, the Probation Department, Human Services Agency, Sheriff’s Office and County Manager’s Office to create a new way of providing the services to Achieve 180’s clients.
Although the work is well into the planning stages, it won’t be ready by April 1 when Achieve 180 falls off, County Manager John Maltbie will tell the Board of Supervisors at Tuesday’s meeting.
Maltbie planned to tell the board it might be asked to help out with emergency funding but Deputy County Manager Mike Callagy said BHRS found the needed $165,000 in its reserves to fund the program until the new model of case management and treatment plans can be launched.
The new version known as the “San Mateo County Collaborative Re-entry Plan” — really more a continuation than an expansion, Kaplan said — will be similar in nature but may also include inmates who wouldn’t qualify for Achieve 180. If those inmates fit the realignment criteria, the county can maximize that state money but a different plan will be needed for those outside the parameters, Kaplan said.
One helpful piece, particularly those with mental health needs, is that many of those individuals will be eligible for benefits under health reform, he said.
Kaplan said the plan is to continue Achieve 180’s successes. The program, funded by the grant to serve 200 individuals a year, has a success rate the polar opposite of the overall jail population. A new report of more current data is currently in the works but Kaplan said the last update about a year and a half ago shows that, while the Sheriff’s Office historically reports 70 percent recidivism, the Achieve 180 rate is about 70 percent of no new offenses or reincarcerations. Of that remaining 30 percent, very few were felonies and those felonies were not violent crimes, Kaplan said.
Going forward, Kaplan said he’d like to see an expansion of the program’s mentoring component and work with the children of the incarcerated.
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