Times Staff Writer
and Hannah Pollock
Adams County Prison will not be involved in a recent grant to “reduce incarceration rates” in Adams County and Philadelphia through collaboration.
The Vera Institute of Justice is funding the Consensus-Building for Incarceration Reform (CBIR) program, which seeks to “improve prospects for offenders and ex-offenders” in both areas “by bringing together criminal justice reform advocates, community leaders, and county jail officials,” according to a press release.
Urban Rural Action and the Pennsylvania Prison Society will lead this CBIR program, the release reads.
The Adams County Prison has other focuses at this time preventing Warden Katy Hileman and her staff from participating in the grant opportunity, she announced Tuesday at the prison board meeting.
While Hileman said she believes “the initiative is a positive one and collaboration is usually beneficial for all parties,” she does “not currently have the time or availability to be involved.”
She also noted she does not have staff “to dedicate to this initiative.”
The program goals include: hoping to “strengthen the influence, advocacy, and consensus-building capacity of our network of criminal justice reform advocates, community leaders, and jail officials”; to “increase familiarity with data on incarceration rates and jail conditions in Adams County and Philadelphia”; working to “develop and implement advocacy strategies to reduce incarceration and improve jail conditions”; and “build relationships among participants through homestays, communal meals, and collaboration,” according to Chad Collie, who is an advisory board member of the Urban Rural Action.
Urban Rural Action, a nonprofit, looks to improve “relationships between urban and rural communities through collective action,” the release reads.
Although the prison staff does not have the time to give to this initiative, Collie said there will be 15 participants from Adams County and 15 from Philadelphia.
Adams County Commissioner Vice Chairman Jim Martin, who is the chair of the prison board, “has indicated that either he or his designee will monitor the initiative on behalf of the jail,” Hileman said.
Hileman said the prison has “several large projects under way,” including the Transition to Recovery program that assists those with opioid addictions. The Vivitrol program launched this month.
The medical treatment, known as Vivitrol, “is a non-addictive, once-monthly treatment” used “to prevent relapse in opioid dependent patients,” according to naltrexone drug’s website. “Vivitrol blocks opioid receptors in the brain while you work with the psychological aspects of counseling,” the website indicates.
The prison also anticipates “the implementation of CorreTrak,” which entails “real time electronic tracking and documentation of inmates and detainees,” officials said.
Other projects include reviewing bids for the Request for Proposal (RFP) to seek a new food service vendor at the prison and a potential nursery and vocational program, according to Hileman.
The Adams County Prison Board approved the submission Tuesday of the RFP for food services which will go before the commissioners at their July 24 meeting.
During the prison board meeting, Hileman also discussed the potential for expanding the Adams County Prison “orchard, garden, and greenhouse into a functioning nursery.”
“Much of the conversation has included expanding the vocational training and programming for the inmates and re-entry participants, while also providing community service by growing plants that will support riparian buffer projects around Adams County,” Hileman said.
But the “conversation is still in its early stages,” according to Hileman, who noted they plan to visit a state correctional institution on July 30 to see the Department of Corrections program.
The CBIR program meetings are set for September and October with some in Gettysburg and others in Philadelphia, according to officials. For more information about the program, check out Urban Rural Action at uraction.org/cbir-registration.html.