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Criminal Justice Needs Assessment Report Issued

Published: 9/18/2012

For More Information Contact:

Mary Ellen Still, Chairperson

Poughkeepsie...The Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council (CJC) has issued its final draft report of the Criminal Justice Needs Assessment, a review of Dutchess County’s current inmate housing situation within in the context of the County’s entire criminal justice system.    The report was requested by Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro earlier this year when he asked the CJC to provide comprehensive recommendations about how the County should proceed for the future.

The report is broken into two major areas.   First the report reviews the County’s current, extensive Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) programs which currently divert approximately 600 individuals from incarceration at the county jail.   Secondly, the report looks at the current county jail facility; the increasing number of inmates being housed at facilities outside of the County and the corresponding rising costs; as well as the options and costs of an alternate jail facility..

The two major recommendations of the report are first, work with data analysis consultant to increase the collection and analysis of data regarding the risk level of inmates and those in ATI programs with the goal of reducing recidivism.   One action already underway is the Accelerated Release and Re-Entry Program (ARRP).  It is a collaborative approach between the Jail, Probation and the Community Transition Center designed to provide a continuum of programming, reduce the length of incarceration, expedite case processing and reduce recidivism. It is built on an existing pretrial structure with existing staff and is being implemented without any additional expense.

The second report recommendation is to move forward with a better jail facility, designed to be a transition center campus where the County can improve its ability to institute additional evidence-based rehabilitative and re-entry programs.

Criminal Justice Council Chairperson Mary Ellen Still said, “We have had a great deal of success with our Alternative to Incarceration programs, but the rising number of inmates being housed outside of county, often at facilities up to four hours away, as well as the corresponding rising cost, has brought us to a point where we cannot solve the issue with ATI programs without finding a way to keep these inmates here in the County where we can work with them to prevent future recidivism.”

Ms. Still continued, “Many people have worked very long and hard on this report.    It is actually three reports merged into one and the result is a very comprehensive look at our Criminal Justice System, including where we are right now and where we need to be for the future.”

At the CJC meeting this morning, the CJC voted to issue the draft report document and begin a public comment period.   A public hearing will be facilitated by the Mediation Center, Inc. in the coming weeks.

Once all comments are received, the CJC will issue a final report document to be sent to County Executive Molinaro, Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Robert J. Rolison and Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian Anderson. The CJC also recommended having a 3rd party industry consultant validate the report and provide recommendations for next steps.

The report is available online