On Tuesday, December 11th, the Dutchess County Department of Public Works will host a public information meeting providing an update on the Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center (DCJTC) project, including the near-complete construction of the new Law Enforcement Center (LEC). Public Works Commissioner Robert Balkind will provide residents with an update on the project’s budget, design, and timeline. The event will be held at the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) Training Room at 230 North Road in Poughkeepsie and will begin at 6pm with a “County Government on the Road” informational fair with various county departments providing information on programs and services related to mental health and the criminal justice system, including the various efforts to divert individuals from the criminal justice system and reducing recidivism. The information meeting will begin at 7pm.
Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro said, “I encourage residents to join us on December 11th as we continue the conversation about our work to improve and enhance Dutchess County’s Criminal Justice System. Our work in mental health and alternatives to incarceration is serving as a model for counties across New York State and the nation. We look forward to sharing information about the design of the new Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center, which will help us to expand our innovative evidence-based programming effectively reducing recidivism and promoting a healthier and safer community.”
In 2016, to address the decades-long issue of lack of capacity at the Dutchess County Jail and the costly issue of housing out inmates, the Dutchess County Legislature approved funding for the design and construction of the DCJTC, as well as a new LEC to replace the existing Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office. The new DCJTC will improve inmate and staff safety, provide the necessary space to expand the County’s evidence-based rehabilitative and re-entry programs, improve inmates’ access to medical and mental health services, and create the bed capacity required by the New York State Commission of Correction. Special populations, including women and those with substance abuse issues or mental health issues, will also be better served with appropriate housing units designed to best address their needs. Additionally, the modern design will provide a far more efficient staff-to-inmate ratio providing millions of dollars in annual operational savings.
The first phase of the project—the 56,000-square-foot LEC—is nearing completion and is expected to be occupied and operational in early 2019. The new LEC will feature improved public access, enhanced design efficiency, expanded on-site parking, and significant green space to enhance the streetscape view.
The next phase will be to demolish the current Sheriff’s Office building to make room for the DCJTC. Most of the current Dutchess County Jail facility will also be demolished, except for the southernmost section built in 1995, which will be renovated and incorporated within the new campus design. Once complete, the DCJTC will be a 297,000-square-foot facility with 384 new beds, plus the use of 100 beds from the 1995 section of the existing facility, and a 35-bed medical and mental health unit, for a total of 519 beds. An additional 24 beds will be available through double-bunking, if needed in the future, for a maximum capacity of 543 beds.
At the public meeting on December 11th, Commissioner Balkind will present the current building design, construction estimate, and tentative project schedule.
Before the information meeting, residents are encouraged to meet representatives from Dutchess County departments and agencies who will be available to discuss some of the following programs and services from 6pm to 7pm:
Behavioral & Community Health
- Intensive Treatment Alternative Program (ITAP): an outpatient day rehabilitation program offering chemical dependency treatment and life skills training for criminal justice patients.
- DBCH Forensic Unit: provides judges, attorneys, and probation officers with an independent evaluation of individuals involved in the criminal justice system who may suffer from a mental illness and or chemical dependency. The assessment is designed to provide comprehensive clinical evaluations that identify needs and personal barriers to recovery. Specific treatment recommendations are provided to the legal system for the development and implementation of treatment alternatives to incarceration.
- HELPLINE (485-9700 or TOLL-FREE: 877-485-9700): offers 24/7 crisis counseling, support, information and referrals. In 2017, HELPLINE staff answered 34,621 calls, interacted with 118 individuals who walked into the 230 North Road facility, and held 1,027 texting conversations for a total of 35,766 contacts.
- Mobile Crisis Intervention Team: trained mental health professionals available 24/7 via the HELPLINE to assist law enforcement in assessing individuals in the field and diverting appropriate persons to community resources. The team assisted more than 2,890 individuals in 2017.
- Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program: provides training to law enforcement, first responders, educators, and counselors on how to effectively interact with individuals in crisis. The County has trained more than 240 law enforcement and corrections officers in CIT since 2015.
- Stabilization Center: a one-of-a-kind, walk-in facility for people feeling overwhelmed by mental health, substance use, or other life issues. The Center, located at 230 North Road in Poughkeepsie, is open 24/7 and offers a single point of service where individuals can receive crisis counseling, mental health assessments, supervised outpatient withdrawal services, addiction and substance use counseling, and peer advocacy and supports. The Center can connect individuals to drug rehab providers, mental health and substance use clinic providers, housing services, and faith-based community support.
Office of Probation & Community Corrections
- Pre-Trial Services: Probation Officers interview all newly admitted individuals to the jail using an evidence-based COMPAS Failure to Appear screening instrument, which assigns a risk level. Those deemed eligible are recommended for release to an appropriate pre-trial or Alternative to Incarceration program, such as electronic monitoring or transitional housing.
- Re-Entry Supportive Transition and Reintegration Track (RESTART): an in-jail program that provides evidence-based curricula to inmates identified with high criminogenic risk/need in dedicated dormitory units currently within the jail and soon the DCJTC. The program provides highly structured interventions and services, in-jail case management and structured transition plans for inmates as they transition back into the community.
- The Transitional Housing Program (THP): a 38-bed facility run in partnership with Project MORE, Inc., for individuals waiting for a bed at a residential facility, participating in the Intensive Treatment Alternative Program (ITAP) or entering outpatient clinical and rehabilitation services as a condition of probation or pre-trial release. While waiting for a bed at another residential facility, clients are provided education and counseling.
- The Women’s Reporting Center: provides services to clients who are referred while on pretrial status, as a condition of probation or because of a probation violation. The gender-responsive programming at the Center includes case management services, cognitive behavioral intervention (Moral Reconation Therapy, MRT), and the National Institute of Corrections’ employment curriculum (Ready, Set, Work!).
Office of the Public Defender
- 24-hour Arraignment Services: provides free legal representation to all individuals facing criminal charges when there is a possibility of incarceration. This service is provided 24/7/365 in all courts in the County. A State University of New York study found arraignment services in Dutchess County reduce both the number of individuals being sent to jail, as well as the length of stay.
- Parole Services: provides free legal representation to all individuals in the Dutchess County Jail facing a parole violation. Since this service’s inception, the length of stay of parolees has been substantially reduced.
- Social Worker Services: provides two licensed social workers to assist incarcerated Public Defender clients access rehabilitation, mental health and housing services to shorten length of stay and recidivism.
Community & Family Services
- "Path to Promise" initiative: a multi-year effort to ensure all young people in Dutchess County–from birth through age 19–have the assets and resources they need to achieve their full potential as they grow into young adults.
Additionally, representatives will be on hand from the Department of Human Resources, Dutchess County Public Transit and the Division of Veterans Services with information.