Dane County will begin working with Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM), Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership Development, Anesis Center for Marriage and Family Therapy and the Jessie Crawford Recovery Center to help inmates who are transitioning into the community from the Dane County Jail, Dane County Executive Director Joe Parisi announced today.

“Our new community-based jail re-entry team will be there to help people make the transition back into society at a very vulnerable time,” said Parisi in a statement. “We will work with them while they are in jail to assess their needs and to develop a plan for success. Once released, we will have a team in the community ready to work with and assist them in successfully reintegrating back into society.”

Parisi introduced this initiative as part of his 2018 budget and has allocated $110,000 annually toward the effort. This program will work with inmates before they leave the jail to help prepare them for a successful transition. It will provide case management and peer support to eliminate intrapersonal and environmental factors that contribute to criminal activity and repeated incarceration. The priority for the program will be individuals who are at the highest risk for returning to jail.

Sentenced inmates who have indications of a mental illness or substance use disorder will be prioritized for intervention, unless that individual already has support from a case manager in the community, according to a press release from Dane County. The organizations will gather critical information and develop a re-entry plan for each individual prior to their release to the community. MUM, Nehemiah, Anesis and Jessie Crawford Recovery Center will collaborate with other professionals and entities focused on community re-entry from the jail. The re-entry plan will address the most critical needs of the individual that are most likely to place the individual at risk of a subsequent period of incarceration.

“MUM along with our partners look forward to working with Dane County on this initiative to expand our existing reentry peer support and case management services to the entire county,” said MUM Executive Director Linda Ketcham in a statement. “The County initiative will increase our capacity to offer peer support, case management, access to mental health, trauma support, employment support and housing we can offer a holistic approach to supporting for returning citizens. We recognize that these collaborations not only increase capacity but strengthen our efforts and allow us to more effectively leverage existing services.”

Participation in the program will be voluntary and in collaboration with the Dane County Sherriff’s office re-entry coordinator. The partner organizations will work to help assist individuals to obtain housing, employment, counseling or medication for a mental illness or a substance use disorder, health coverage, and need-based benefits and will meet with people in jail to start working through their plan and offer services like trauma counseling, peer support and access to other community organizations.

The Dane County Board is expected to approve the contract and work should begin later this summer.