WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that Prince George’s County has been awarded a $1,199,565 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment for the Prince George’s County Offender Reentry Program (PGCORP). PGCORP is a program that aims to ensure recovery and prevent recidivism by assisting citizens reentering society through expanded and enhanced services.
“There isn’t a single member of the United States Senate who has not received a second chance in life. Denying Americans a second chance after making a mistake wrecks families, overburdens our criminal justice system and has been proven inefficient,” said Senator Cardin who has been a leading advocate for second chance legislation in the Senate and recently introduced a broad package of judicial reforms called the BALTIMORE Act. “Using an overarching approach to enable returning citizens to recover from addiction and stay out of trouble makes our communities safer and stronger. I’m heartened to see the federal government supporting meaningful opportunities to reform our criminal justice system.”
“If an American citizen has paid their debt to society after committing a crime, our focus must be on their rehabilitation and full reintegration into society,” said Senator Mikulski, Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee which funds HHS. “Crime and drug use across America are destroying families and ravaging communities. They cut across class, race and age. This federal grant funding will help keep communities in Prince George’s County safe while helping drug users break the cycle of addiction, get healthy and stay clean.”
The PGCORP program is a collaborative effort with multiple County agencies that include Prince George’s County Circuit Reentry Court, Prince George’s Department of Corrections, Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services, Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, and the Prince George’s County Department of Parole and Probation. By collaborating to achieve the same goals regarding recovery and recidivism, Prince George’s County is leveraging the specific focuses of each agency.
A Care Coordination Team composed of representatives from each supporting agency will meet bi-monthly to strategize on ways to strengthen and expand comprehensive wrap around treatment and care services for reentering offenders and provide overall guidance and direction to PGCORP. Staffing will consist of a combination of in-kind support as well as planned new hired full-time employees who will serve in the functions of clinical case managers and reentry coordinator/clinical supervisor.
This three-year program will serve 67 persons annually (200 over the life of the program) age 18 or older, who are currently incarcerated in state or county detention facilities, have served a minimum of three months and are within four months of returning to their communities. Participants may have a history of multiple incarcerations, have been diagnosed with co-occurring disorders and or substance abuse, and may have or will be referred upon release to community-based treatment.
By the conclusion of the project, the program will seek to reduce recidivism from 61% to 50%. In addition, the programs seeks to ensure that 50% of participants will be employed and or in job training after nine months in the program, 80% should report improved family and living conditions, social connectedness, access to treatment and retention in treatment and 80% should express satisfaction with their reentry plan. Every Prince George’s County jail inmate who participates in the program and was incarcerated for at least 3 months will be screened for substance abuse and mental health issues.