Prison Reform: The Second Chance Program, An Evidenced-based Approach

The Alternative Resource Company has been developed to provide an alternative prison work program in the state of Virginia, to better assist inmates in successfully integrating back into society.  The purpose of the program is to enhance corrections systems’ ability to address the needs of offenders with co-occurring substance abuse and mental illness to reduce recidivism, and to improve public safety and public health. Our company is a non-profit organization, which will introduce behavioral health, training, and employment to prison inmates by soliciting private companies for outsourcing contracts.

The goal is for the participants of this program to model positive mental health and to develop work skills which will ultimately help them in finding employment at the time of their release. In conjunction with their work experience and our involvement in their job seeking process, we will ultimately reduce the rate of prison recidivism.

Growing nationally by 3.4 percent a year for the past 10 years, federal, state and local prisons hold 2.3 million inmates – one half of whom are nonviolent and small-time drug law offenders. In 2006, prison populations went up in 41 states, including an increase of 1,344 inmates in Virginia. From 2000 to 2005 the state’s prison population has grown at a steady 3.2 percent per year. According to a forecast prepared by state’s secretary of public safety, the prison population is expected to grow to more than 44.000 by 2013. With more nonviolent inmates incarcerated longer because of tougher sentencing laws, we need to consider them a viable labor source rather than sending jobs offshore and worse having to continuously financially support this population and their families.  

Program Services: 

* Screening and assessment for substance abuse and mental illness and validated risk    assessment while the individual is in prison or jail.

* Providing treatment for co-occurring substance abuse and mental illness while the individual is in prison or jail and discharge planning.

* Pre-release and post-release collaborative comprehensive case management planning.

* Providing linkages to other wraparound or recovery support services, including health care coverage, employment, education, housing, and life skills training, and post release treatment and aftercare programming in the community, which may include parole, probation, or court supervision with specialized caseloads.

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