A Solution to Overcrowding in Jails

Developing an Outpatient Resource Center

Executive Summary

To alleviate overcrowding due to expanding mental health and substance abuse populations, a Southwest Detention County Facility sought solutions to reduce jail census by at least 20-30 percent. In collaboration with the county, Falcon experts developed an innovative diversion and re-entry model that would serve as a one-stop Agency or Outpatient Center for all inmates meeting program inclusion.

This proposed comprehensive program would substantially reduce the standing population at the facility, provide an alternative to incarceration, and increase participation and support of community groups or relevant stakeholders. This long-term solution would reduce the number of offenders entering the facility, eliminating overcrowding on an ongoing basis.

The Falcon Approach To Solving Jail Overcrowding

This solution entailed offering a jail diversion, early release and re-entry program model that delivered a one-stop Outpatient Resource and Referral Center to be located in a stand-alone building at close proximity to the jail. The Center would serve as an “Umbrella Agency” coordinating all post arrest and/or early release activities with the jail, courts, law enforcement, the facility, and county providers. Designed to offer a continuation of medical and behavioral health services initiated at the jail, this Center would offer physical and behavioral health treatments, assessments, triage, stabilization, medications, community referrals, and tracking as well as counseling and re-entry groups. Treatment and support programming would be provided for all inmates including early release, post arrest, and those requiring re-entry services.

Project objectives included:

  • Creating a seamless transition from the facility to the community with no interruption in services initiated while the inmate was incarcerated.
  • Providing a complete continuum of intermediate sanctions and services in lieu of jail placement, either through resource referrals, in-house monitoring or programming at the Center.
  • Safely and effectively delivering inmates back to the community upon their re- entry.
  • Developing specific program services targeting the needs of special populations and severely mentally ill inmates.
  • Increasing accessibility of community resources to reduce potential for recidivism, facilitating success of community-based or housing placement.
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