Philadelphia Re-Entry Project Wants to Shed ‘Crisis Mode’

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Philadelphia last year adopted a citywide prisoner reentry plan and launched a public-private collaboration, the Philadelphia Reentry Coalition, to cut recidivism among the 34,000 people released from prisons in the city every year by 25 percent in five years. Director Ceciley Bradford-Jones intends transform the city’s Office for Reintegration Services (RISE) into a data-driven agency that will begin working with people while they’re still in city jails, then connecting them seamlessly to needed services after they’re released, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I want us to become a triage door for reentry,” she said.

The agency must leverage its resources to reach thousands more if it is to make a dent in Philadelphia’s recidivism problem. About 60 percent of people coming out of state prison will be arrested again within three years. Now, Bradford-Jones said, “People come to RISE when they’re in crisis.” She wants to shift out of crisis-management mode and believes starting intake much earlier is one key to that. Her vision: RISE intake managers will begin their work inside prisons, assessing each individual’s needs and risk level and developing a customized reentry plan. Post-release, ex-offenders will be referred to appropriate programs – whether run by RISE or by outside agencies – and RISE will continue tracking their outcomes. Bradford-Jones admits that, “We unfortunately have to rebrand. It’s not like we have the best reputation right now.”

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