CULLMAN, Ala. – The Link of Cullman County, after months of preparation, is preparing to roll out its ONE-Eighty program intended to help former prison inmates make a smoother transition to life outside prison and keep them from becoming reincarcerated.
ONE-Eighty Program Coordinator Aubrey Moore told The Tribune earlier this year, “We are so excited about our new ONE-Eighty program that is funded through a federal grant from the Second Chance Act. The purpose of the ONE-Eighty program is to reduce recidivism in our community by providing services to recently released individuals. The Link will work closely with the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office and receive referrals from the Cullman County Office of (the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles). Link staff will work alongside these individuals by providing services that promote long-term moral and spiritual growth. We are confident these services will assist individuals in becoming contributing members of society again and we cannot wait to watch renewal take place in their lives.”
The Link received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to fund the project. In announcing the award last fall, the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance release read:
The Second Chance Act of 2007 (Pub. L. 110-199) provides a comprehensive response to assist in the transition individuals make from prison, jail, or juvenile residential facilities to the community so that the transition is more successful and promotes public safety. The Second Chance Act grant funding is designed to help communities develop and implement comprehensive and collaborative strategies that address the challenges posed by reentry and recidivism reduction. Reentry is not a specific program, but rather a process that starts when an individual is initially incarcerated and ends when he or she has been successfully reintegrated in the community as a law-abiding citizen.
Section 211 of the Second Chance Act, codified at 34 U.S.C. § 60531, authorizes grants to nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Indian tribes that may be used for services to promote the safe and successful community reintegration of adults who have been incarcerated.
The Second Chance Act Comprehensive Community-based Adult Reentry Program supports organizations or tribes providing comprehensive reentry services to program participants throughout their transition from jail or prison to the community. Under this solicitation, BJA is seeking applications to implement or expand on reentry programs that demonstrate strong partnerships with corrections, parole, probation, law enforcement, and other reentry service providers. These partnerships should develop comprehensive case management plans that directly address criminogenic risk and needs, as determined by validated criminogenic risk assessments, and includes delivery or facilitation of services in a manner consistent with the learning styles and abilities of the participants. This includes ensuring cognitive behavioral programming is in place pre-release, whether by the lead applicant or a partnering agency.
The Link of Cullman County, Inc. will use award funds to provide a comprehensive approach to adult reentry to identify transitional needs of the offender by providing case management, cognitive intervention, and follow-up measures. The Link Inc. will provide services to a minimum of 40 medium to high level offenders per year in coordination with jail and prison.
The Link’s Director Julie Hall on Thursday told The Tribune, “We just received our first funding from our Second Chance Act grant. Hopefully, starting next week, we’ll start intaking participants to our ONE-Eighty program . . . It’s been a year in the planning and implementation phase, and we’re just now ready to kick off.”
Hall told The Tribune that the program requires mentors to assist the participants, and more mentors are needed.
Said Hall, “We have a mentor orientation next week, and because that’s a part of the program- to connect a participant with a mentor to help them with their social skills- we’re still recruiting.”
Hall concluded, “We believe that this is the way to make a difference for our participants and for our community.”
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