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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200280 Find in a Library
Title: Mean Streets Revisited: Ex-cons Coming Home in Big Numbers Threaten the Stability of Fragile Inner-city Neighborhoods
Journal: Governing  Volume:16  Issue:7  Dated:April 2003  Pages:30-33
Author(s): John Buntin
Date Published: April 2003
Page Count: 4
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After analyzing problems related to large-scale ex-offender return to some Baltimore neighborhoods, this article describes how the Maryland Reentry Partnership program has addressed these problems; a similar program in Fort Wayne, IN, is also described.
Abstract: Over the past two decades, the United States has imprisoned more people for longer terms than ever before. Now the offenders locked up at the peak of the sentencing period in the mid-1990's are leaving prison in unprecedented numbers. More than 10,000 felons have completed their sentences and returned to the streets of Baltimore over the past 12 months. Between 700 and 1,200 of the ex-offenders are estimated in reside in the vicinity of 1 neighborhood, Druid Heights. Based on past experience, it is anticipated that two-thirds of these ex-offenders will be back in prison within 3 years. In the interim, many will burglarize cars and houses, strip building sites, steal stashes, and commit various criminal acts to support their drug habits. Further, they will strain the urban health care system as they spread HIV, hepatitis C, and tuberculosis. In an effort to address these problems, the Maryland Reentry Partnership was established through a collaboration among the Maryland Correction and Parole Divisions, the Baltimore Police, the Baltimore health departments, the mayor's office, the nonprofit Enterprise Foundation, and three community development corporations in Baltimore's most troubled neighborhoods. The goal of the partnership was to customize a comprehensive transition plan for individual inmates and pair the inmates with someone who could help them obtain the services needed to survive on the street. The program has been operating since April 2001. Program efforts begin in prison, as a Correction Division caseworker identifies inmates from the five high-crime neighborhoods of Baltimore, including Druid Heights. The program is voluntary. For those who participate, the process begins with an exit orientation 30 days before release. Inmates meet the caseworkers, the advocate, the parole officer, and a police officer. The group develops a transition plan for the inmate, and the caseworker lines up transitional housing, drug treatment, and perhaps job training. On the day of release, the advocate meets the ex-inmate at the prison gate and drives him to the home of a family member or a half-way house. Services in the community are subsequently coordinated by the caseworker and the advocate. The Fort Wayne program is similar to that of Baltimore's except it is strictly a government operation that relies on a Reentry Court. A transition team meets with the inmate the week before release to compose a transition plan. The inmate then appears before a Superior Court judge to verify the agreement. The judge continues to monitor each inmate's progress for the duration of the plan, with sanctions attached to any violation.
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Case management; Ex-offender employment; Ex-offenders; Indiana; Maryland; Post-release programs; Prerelease programs
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