The “Transition to Success” program is one step closer to bringing “an alternative method to traditional corrections” in Adams County.
Commissioners approved signing the sub-grant award of $229,339 from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency at the board’s meeting Wednesday.
The grant funding will go toward refurnishing the two housing units at the Adams County Adult Correctional Complex (ACACC), “staff training, the purchase of evidence-based treatment materials, and other supplies,” according to a release issued by the county Wednesday.
“This program will revolutionize criminal justice in the county jail,” Commissioner Marty Qually claimed after the meeting. “County taxpayers foot the bill for the county jail, we have a duty to taxpayers and inmates to help inmates succeed as they leave our jail. This program puts us on a solid footing to make that happen.”
Based on the Scandinavian model of incarceration, the program will be administered through partnerships with the Adams County Department of Probation Services in addition to community partners, officials said.
“The ‘Transition to Success’ program is an alternative method to traditional corrections wherein appropriate offenders will spend their incarceration period engaged in individualized, holistic treatment programming to address criminogenic risks and needs,” according to the release.
Targeting “first-time, low-risk offenders and first-time probation violators,” the program will include individualized case planning and treatment that will focus on “the risk factors that are known to contribute to recidivism and support successful reintegration into the community post release,” according to the release.
“Ultimately, the goal of ‘Transition to Success’ is to target the individual needs of an offender during their incarceration through evidence-based treatment programming, educational, vocational, and social services, help them to identify barriers to their success, ensure they have the tools and resources to overcome those struggles, and successfully reintegrate into the community,” the release reads.
With that goal, the hope is “recidivism rates will be reduced, and in time, the generational cycle will be broken, resulting in a reduction in new crimes committed in Adams County,” according to the release.
The three-year recidivism rate for the state is about 53.4 percent, based on current data, and approximately 76 percent of individuals will reoffend within five years nationally, the release reads.
Based on 2011-2021 statistics, about 71 percent of individuals “will be recommitted for a new crime within five years after their release from the ACACC,” according to the release.
The next step will be “the intensive piece” because it includes “writing all the programming,” which will be a multi-department effort, according to Adams County Solicitor Molly Mudd.
“It is heavy lift coming, and hopefully a joyful one with good results,” Mudd said.
Along with building renovations, Mudd said the timing of when it starts will depend on the Adams County Court of Common Pleas judges classifying eligible people for the program.
This program will be offered in addition to the prison’s work release program, which is out of the main building and “on a more limited basis” since the pandemic, Mudd said.
The county is able to implement the program because it is not using its re-entry facility to the extent it was before the pandemic.
In March, Adams County officials presented more on the program.
Giving prisoners a more relaxed living area will hopefully allow them to view their sentence as an opportunity to learn life skills in a setting based upon strength building rather than punitive sanctions, Adams County Common Pleas President Judge Michael George said at the time.
In the past 10 years, 28 percent of those released from prison were later reincarcerated, George said.
The project will also be funded through the prison, probation services and court budgets “without the need for additional tax dollars,” George said.