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Molinaro Provides Update on Dutchess County Justice Transition Center Project

Published: 7/8/2014

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie...Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro addressed the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council this morning with planning status update on the Dutchess County Justice Transition Center project.   The Dutchess County Justice Transition Center (DCJTC) will solve the County’s longtime, costly housing out of inmates.   The DCJTC is envisioned as a transitional center campus that enables the County to provide various co-located services to support a strong continuum of service.    It is expected to provide millions of dollars in short-term and long-term savings to the County, while providing the opportunity for the County to expand its nationally-recognized Alternative to Incarceration programs to better transition inmates back into the community and decrease recidivism.

Following authorization from the Dutchess County Legislature in June, County Executive Molinaro recently signed a lease agreement with Proteus On-Demand Facilities LLC for temporary housing units to be installed adjacent to the current Dutchess County Jail at 150 North Hamilton Street in the City of Poughkeepsie. The $4.9 million lease covers a three year period, beginning in early 2015 with option for up to two one year extensions, and will enable the County to return approximately two hundred inmates to Dutchess County, saving taxpayers more than $1 million annually on housing out costs. Importantly, the temporary housing will enable the County to move forward into the project definition phase for the DCJTC.

Project definition will include a comprehensive assessment of Dutchess County’s criminal justice system needs including the necessary number of beds, types of housing units needed for various special populations, recommendations for specific evidence based programs and services needed in the transition center to address behavioral and criminogenic issues.

Dutchess County has sought industry experts for a project team to create a phased development master plan for the Dutchess County Justice Transition Center, including defining the overall scope, planning, project schedule and design development. Additionally, a Request for Proposals was issued for a consultant to analyze and make recommendations regarding special population inmates including women, juveniles and those with mental health, substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Both of the requests for proposals are aimed to create an innovative DCJTCP that will improve the functionality and efficiency of the criminal justice facility and improve the quality of life for underserved constituencies while contributing to the improvement of social and economic well-being of Dutchess County as a whole.

Ricci Greene Associates (RGA) has responded to the master plan project team request with an assembled team of both national and local firms with extensive experience in correction facilities, community housing and development, and mixed use public private partnerships. The RGA team will provide a presentation to county officials later this month before a final decision is made to begin formal contract negotiations.

Alternative Solutions Associates, Inc. (ASAI) has responded to the request for the special populations consultant. ASAI is led by Kevin Warwick, who has over 30 years experience in the criminal justice field. Mr. Warwick is currently working with the Urban Institute and the National Institute of Corrections on the Transition from Jail to Community Project to develop best practice models relating to jail reentry and community corrections with jurisdictions from around the country.

County Executive Molinaro also announced the creation of two citizen advisory groups – one external group, the DCJTC Advisory Group, to provide feedback through the development process and share updates with the broader community and one special populations advisory workgroup to work with the Special Populations consultant.

The DCJTC Advisory Group will bring together diverse individuals from various sectors of the community and will be led by former New York State Senator Stephen Saland. The group will meet monthly to receive updates about the DCJTC project, get feedback and provide input, ask questions and advise throughout the project.

Advisory group members include:

Mary Madden President & CEO, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union
Rev. Jesse Bottoms Pastor, Beulah Baptist Church
Tim Massie Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations, Health Quest
Robert Mallory Chairman, Poughkeepsie City Council, Chairman
Joe Lepore Owner, LCS Facility Group
Andrew O’Grady Executive Director, Mental Health America
Audra Gerty Executive Vice President & CFO, Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce
Hon. John Crodelle Town Justice, Town of North East
Jim Hammond Board Member, Walkway Over the Hudson
David Freeman Chair of Architecture and Construction Technology, Dutchess Community College
Dr. John Doherty  Assistant Professor and Chair of Criminal Justice, Marist College
Dr. Kenneth Oclatis Director of Outpatient Clinics, Mid Hudson Regional Hospital of Westchester Medical Center


City of Poughkeepsie Council Chairman Robert Mallory said, “This project will have a huge impact on the lives of countless people, so it is very important for the community to have a voice in the decision making as the DCJTC moves forward. I am pleased County Executive Molinaro has asked me to be part of this advisory group and I look forward to bringing the questions, concerns and ideas from Poughkeepsie to the table.”

The Special Populations Workgroup will work directly with special populations consultant ASAI to determine the best ways to address the needs of Dutchess County’s special inmate populations. Input and guidance from this workgroup and the consultant will contribute to the design of the DCJT. The workgroup will be a subcommittee of the Criminal Justice Council and will be led by City of Poughkeepsie Police Chief Ron Knapp.

Members of the Special Populations Workgroup include:

Onaje Benjamin Transition Counselor, Dutchess County Jail, Former offender
Sam Buselle  Community Advocate
Gary Christensen Data Consultant for the CJC former Dutchess County Jail Administrator
Shirley Adams Executive Director, Catharine Street Community Center
Steve Miccio Executive Director, People, Inc.
Marty Lynch  Director of Programming, Project MORE
Hon. Frank Mora Judge, City of Poughkeepsie
John Heller Pre-Trial Supervisor, Dutchess County Office of Probation & Community Corrections
Jenny Salimbene Director of Dutchess County Chemical Dependency Clinics, Lexington Center for Recovery
Margaret Hirst Director of Clinical Services, Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene
Tom Angell Dutchess County Public Defender
George Krom    Dutchess County Jail Administrator
Tracy Stevens   Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council member
Mary Ellen Still   Director, Dutchess County Office of Probation & Community Corrections

The Special Populations Workgroup will begin work immediately, including participating in an upcoming one-day workshop presented by SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation GAINS Center. Dutchess County was selected as one of four communities nationwide to develop integrated strategies to better identify and respond to the needs of adults with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders in contact with the criminal justice system. The upcoming workshop on July 30th at the Marist College Boathouse will identify and discuss ways in which barriers between the criminal justice, mental health, and substance abuse systems can be reduced for the development of an integrated local plan, with focus on early jail diversion. The workshop is presented at no cost to the county.

County Executive Molinaro concluded, “Our project and the process to finally solve this longtime problem will be open, accessible and unlike anything done anyplace else in the State of New York. By bringing together national and local experts and community stakeholders, with stringent oversight and application of evidence based practices, we seek to improve our criminal justice system, reduce recidivism, and save millions of tax dollars.”