The issue: Recidivism
Each month, the City of New Haven receives over 100 parolees, probationers and others who have completed their sentence. Unfortunately, for 2014, the State of Connecticut had a 40% rate of recidivism among adult probationers and a 60% rate among juveniles. The cost of incarceration is high – over $46,000 per person per year, and that does not take into account the impact on the families and the communities. Mayor Harp has taken on the challenge to reduce recidivism and Veoci is honored to be the technology platform for the effort.
The goal: To cut recidivism by 50 percent by 2020.
The plan: Project Fresh Start
Project Fresh Start plans to begin working with inmates up to 12 months before they leave prison. With the support of the Connecticut Department of Corrections, each prisoner will be given a mentor from one of three New Haven agencies – Easter Seals Goodwill, Community Action Agency of New Haven and Project M.O.R.E- to devise an individualized plan for the transition to a new life outside of prison walls. These three agencies, each with somewhat different specialization, will manage individual needs for employment, education, mental health and other services with referrals to forty other agencies for a fresh start to a new life of growth and success.
Some of their plans for achieving these goals include:
- Information sharing among organizations and groups implementing reentry initiatives
- Supporting local efforts in advancing public safety
- Utilizing proven best practices in aiding those released from prison
- Building community capacity through grant making, technical assistance, and training
- Promoting the successful reintegration of the formerly incarcerated population by advocating and informing policy making and systemic reform
- Including formerly incarcerated individuals in planning, implementation and delivery of transitional services
The transitional services that Project Fresh Start include looking for a job, obtaining IDs such as birth certificates or Elm City Resident Cards, learning how to apply for a pardon, restoring voting rights and many more.
The grant: $2.3 million
Last month, New Haven’s Fresh Start Reentry Initiative was selected as one of five recipients for grants under the Second Chance Act’s 2015 Adult Reentry program, receiving the largest grant of $1 million, adding to the City’s grant total of $2.3 million. When the City applied for the grant last year, Veoci was included as the technology platform. This isn’t the first time the City of New Haven has teamed up with Veoci with the incentive of improving the community and the lives of those in it. Last fall, the City of New Haven found that they needed a technology platform behind Toni Harp’s flagship initiative, Youth Stat, and Veoci was their solution. By the end of the first year, Veoci had made a significant contribution to the success of the project, and continues to make further progress.
Reducing Recidivism with VEOCI
For VEOCI, this is a different type of crisis and emergency; it is a personal emergency, one involving people who have been disconnected from the mainstream of life and society. As Dr. Martha Okafor, the Director of Community Services for New Haven put it, these are people who have fallen into a fast moving river and are being carried away by an unyielding current and without help are unlikely to make it to the shore. With both Youth Stat and Fresh Start, the core services built into Veoci deliver the punch: real-time communication, the task and resource management, the aggregation of all information in one place for the individual and controlled secure legal access for designated professionals. Using Veoci stops the idea of “falling through the cracks” and as seen during the past year with Youth stat, actually expands to include those whom the current systems have not reached.
Here are the press mentions of Fresh Start and their recent grant.
New Haven turns its prison re-entry program into â€˜Fresh Start’ – New Haven Register
Prison Reentry Program Gets “Fresh Start” – New Haven IndependentPrison reentry program gets fresh start