(January 2019, Plain Press) The Cuyahoga County Office of Reentry (OOR) announced on December 13, 2018 that it was awarded a $1 million Department of Justice grant through the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) for Second Chance Act (SCA) funding. The SCA is a grant program that supports state, local and tribal governments, as well as nonprofit organizations in their work to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for people returning from correctional facilities.
The Office of Reentry will spend the first year of the three-year grant period planning with community partners to design and implement a legal clinic devoted to the civil issues faced by returnees and develop housing and employment strategies for returning citizens. In partnership with Enterprise Community Partners and business, housing and economic development specialists, the office will study the systems affecting returning citizens’ housing and employment opportunities. The office will also work with these partners to develop community-wide solutions around these issues.
Housing partners will create a comprehensive, county-wide reentry housing strategy that addresses funding decisions and brings effective reentry housing solutions to the community. Economic specialists will focus on combatting unemployment among returning citizens. Other initiatives include expanding the Adult Transition Model (ATM), a prison outreach program operated by Oriana House, to the local county jails. All strategies are a part of the office’s new collective impact model, a model that encourages organizational stakeholders to abandon their individual approaches to a known socioeconomic problem in favor of one cohesive, community strategy that deals with the issue in a structured and organized way.
“Utilizing a collective impact model to strengthen program structures, foster infrastructure stability, and create effective, community-wide strategies can improve socioeconomic opportunities for those returning home from incarceration,” said Crystal Bryant, Director of the Office of Reentry. “These additional federal resources will support the office’s transition as a supportive, backbone agency for the Cuyahoga County reentry community.”
A portion of the grant funds will also be dedicated to the planning and startup costs of a new social business enterprise, whose mission is to expand employment opportunities to the formerly incarcerated. Other grant partners are Case Western Reserve University’s Law School; Towards Employment; and Community Assessment and Treatment Services, which will help to implement a Second Chance Legal Clinic; offer career pathway services for high-risk participants; and provide post-incarceration trauma-informed care for an estimated 52 people in the Adult Transition Model program.
For more information about the Cuyahoga County Office of Reentry, please visit http://reentry.cuyahogacounty.us/.