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Coordinating Community Development: The Heart of the Michigan Prisoner ReEntry Initiative
Corrections Today Magazine Volume:69 Issue:2 Dated:April 2007 Pages:42 to 49
This article describes the Michigan Prisoner ReEntry Initiative (MPRI), which was designed to promote public safety and increase the success rates of offenders transitioning back into the community. The MPRI model begins with a three-phase reentry approach (Getting Ready, Going Home, and Staying Home), delineates the transition process by adding seven decision points drawn from the National Institute of Corrections' Transition from Prison to Community Initiative model, and incorporates the policies and recommendations of the Report of the ReEntry Policy Council. The MPRI was implemented during a 3-year period in which pilot-testing sites were executed statewide. By 2007, it is expected that 15 sites will be fully operational in jurisdictions covering the territories to which 85 percent of returning inmates reside. The pilot sites have been organized under three key groups of stakeholders: the Local Reentry Advisory Council, the Steering Team, and the Transition Team. The Local Reentry Advisory Council advises, informs, and supports the implementation process while the Steering Team develops, oversees, and monitors the local implementation process and coordinates local community involvement. The Transition Team supports offenders during the transition planning process through a case management approach. The success of the MPRI hinges on community organization and participation and therefore must enlist the (1) capacity; (2) commitment; (3) credibility; and (4) knowledge of the local community in helping inmates successfully transition back into their communities and families. The Community Coordinator position within the MPRI model is considered crucial for its success and, as such, the skills and responsibilities of the Community Coordinator are described, which generally focus on three main areas: (1) coordinating and communicating the evolving design of the MPRI so that it meets inmate needs; (2) facilitating and coordinating community assets; and (3) designing and implementing the MPRI at local pilot sites. Figures, endnotes
Daniel P. Mears
Faith-Based Reentry Programs: Cause for Concern or Showing Promise?
Corrections Today Magazine Volume:69 Issue:2 Dated:April 2007 Pages:30 to 33
This article discusses the confusion regarding whether faith-based prisoner reentry programs are effective. While widely touted as positive step toward community reentry for newly released offenders, there has been little research conducted on the actual effectiveness of faith-based reentry programs. The author argues that while these programs have the potential to help inmates successfully reenter society, there are significant concerns about this type of programming that should be addressed before large amounts of resources are invested in them. One problem, for example, is how to define "faith-based" reentry programming as there seems to be a wide range of programming falling under the definition of "faith-based." Another problem is the lack of empirical research on faith-based programming, which in only made more difficult because of the wide range of programming types billed as "faith-based" which makes comparisons among programs unreliable. Arguments for faith-based programming are presented and include the fact that many operate without tax dollars and many claim to reduce recidivism and improve post-release outcomes. Arguments against faith-based programs focus on constitutional concerns regarding governmental funding of religious entities, the fact that they may not be effective, and the question of whether they harm offenders by encouraging certain religious beliefs. Despite the potential problems introduced by the use of faith-based programming for ex-prisoners, more research on this type of programming is necessary because they offer a better-than-nothing alternative to prisoner community reentry during tough budgetary times. Table, references