County Executive:News Releases:County’s RESTART Program Aims to Reduce Recidivism, Provide Reentry Services

News Release

May 6, 2016      

For Further Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus
(845) 486-2000

County’s RESTART Program Aims to Reduce Recidivism, Provide Reentry Services


Poughkeepsie…Dutchess County was recently recognized for its reentry and treatment programs during National Reentry Week, April 24-30, as designated by the U.S. Department of Justice. Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro was honored last Friday, April 29th, for his and the County’s concerted efforts to provide alternatives to incarceration and transitional services. One of the County’s initiatives that was highlighted was the RESTART program or Re-Entry Stabilization Transition And Reintegration Track, an evidence-based program designed to provide treatment and reentry services, reduce recidivism and assist inmates as they transition back into the community. RESTART is a voluntary program available to male and female inmates housed in the Dutchess County Jail who are at the highest risk to commit new offenses. Staff from the Department of Behavioral & Community Health and their jail-based team, the Office of Probation & Community Corrections and the Dutchess County Jail are working with community-based providers including Project M.O.R.E., Inc. and Hudson Valley Mental Health, to provide RESTART program services.

County Executive Marc Molinaro said, “We as a County are committed to reducing the rate of recidivism by providing alternatives to incarceration and programs for inmates, while in-jail and post-release. RESTART is another example of our concerted efforts to help divert individuals from re-entering the criminal justice system and providing a pathway for success. I thank the county employees and our community partners who have worked tirelessly over the last year and a half to ensure this program was developed to deliver the best possible services while also providing for the continuum of care in our community.”

The RESTART program was developed by the County’s Special Populations Workgroup (SPW), a subcommittee of the Criminal Justice Council, with the assistance of special populations consultant, Kevin Warwick of Alternative Solutions Associates, Inc. (ASAI). The SPW developed a uniform set of program curricula for use in jail and upon release into the community, incorporating cognitive behavioral interventions, mental health and substance abuse programming, psycho-educational classes, in-jail case management, education vocational training, and structured transition plans post-release. Program curricula is specifically tailored to each individual’s needs based on their criminogenic risk factors as determined through the use of the COMPAS actuarial assessment instrument, which contains offender information specifically designed to determine an individual’s risk and needs and create a case plan to address those needs. Current RESTART curricula includes Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT), New Directions, SAMHSA Anger Management, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Habits of Mind, Seeking Safety, and Ready Set Work. The average duration of program participation is 45-60 days.

Links to community-based programs are maintained and coordinated throughout the course of the participant’s RESTART involvement, representing a key transitional component to reducing the rate of recidivism. Community-based programs participating in transitional services include Community Transitions Center, Transitions House, Intensive Treatment Alternative Program (ITAP), the Women’s Reporting Center, the Office of Probation & Community Corrections, NYS Parole, and Lexington Center for Recovery.

Mary Haight, Women’s Reporting Center Program Director and Chairwoman of the Criminal Justice Council’s Women’s Committee said, “The RESTART program is a key component to the success of the continuum of services provided by the Women’s Reporting Center and through Project M.O.R.E., Inc. RESTART’S inclusion of evidence-based practices as part of the program curricula is critical for participants as they strive to apply the techniques and information they learned in order to have a successful transition and avoid reentering the criminal justice system.”

RESTART services began in the jail in the fall of 2015. Participant capacity was quickly reached due to the lack of program space and treatment units at the current jail facility. Currently, 50 male and 20 female inmates are participating in the program. The new Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center will allow for an expansion of the program, with adequate space for services, including large group areas, office space for staff, and an environment encouraging engagement in program offerings.

Dutchess County recently applied for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Second Chance Act Reentry Program for Adult Offenders with Co-Occurring Disorders Grant. The grant program supports state, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations in their work to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for people returning from state and federal prisons, local jails, and juvenile facilities. Dutchess County submitted a grant application for funding for the RESTART program specifically for additional clinical and case management support staff. Grant award announcements are expected in September.

“With the recently approved Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center, RESTART will have the appropriate space needs moving forward to offer additional individuals the opportunity to participate and benefit from program services. The RESTART program strengthens the County’s existing alternatives to incarceration, improves the overall criminal justice system, and will strive to reduce the rate of recidivism,” said County Legislator Alan Surman.

Mary Ellen Still, Director of Probation & Community Corrections and Chairwoman of the Criminal Justice Council said, “I commend the work of Kevin Warwick and the Special Populations Workgroup for crafting an evidence-based program that complements our existing alternatives to incarceration programs. The RESTART program is helping to change cognitive behavioral traits that will assist participants as they transition back into the community.”

To learn more about RESTART and other reentry programs available in Dutchess County, click here.

To learn more about the Second Chance Grant, click here.

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    Last Updated: 5/9/2016