Louisville Metro Corrections and Seven Counties Services launching new ‘Second Chance’ program
Goal is to reduce recidivism among ‘dual diagnosis’ inmates
Mayor Greg Fischer announced a new program today that is designed to reduce recidivism at Louisville Metro Corrections by better ensuring that people arrested while battling mental health challenges and substance abuse get the support necessary to make more stable lives for themselves when released from jail.
The Second Chance Reentry Grant Program is a two-year, $600,000 project, funded by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Second Chance Act Reentry Program for Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Disorders. Seven Counties Services is the community provider, based on its success with diversion services for adults with serious mental illness over the past 38 years.
In a press conference today, the Mayor was joined by Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton and Seven Counties Services president and CEO Tony Zipple in outlining the program, which targets “dual diagnosis inmates,” who are among the jail’s most challenging population – and who are often repeat offenders.
Research findings reported by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2015 suggest that nationally, more than 70 percent of offenders have substance abuse disorders, and that up to 34 percent of jail inmates have a recent history of mental disorders — rates that greatly exceed those among the general population.
Studies also indicate that more than 60 percent of justice-involved individuals with severe mental illness have co-occurring substance use disorders.
That’s also true for Louisville, where the Metro Department of Corrections is one of the region’s largest mental health and substance abuse treatment and detox facilities. There are approximately 100 people arrested and booked in the jail each day, and many of them are dealing with these kinds of challenges, which cause them to cycle in and out of jail regularly.
“These inmates face huge challenges in finding the opportunity and support necessary to keep them from re-offending,” Mayor Fischer said. “And helping them find that support is of benefit to all citizens. It helps provides our neighbors with the opportunity for a better life, which in turn helps reduce crime.”
As part of the new Second Chance program, Seven Counties will do an inmate risk assessment to ensure the program would be beneficial. Then, after receiving court approval, staffers will work to enroll the inmate in intensive outpatient treatment immediately upon release, with case management, peer support and follow-up. That includes assistance with treatment, housing and other financial and health needs.
The Second Chance team consists of the Seven Counties Court Liaison, a therapist, two case managers, and two peer support specialists, who will work closely with the courts, LMDC and various community-based providers to assess, admit, monitor, intervene and transition participants back to the community.
Second Chance, which designed to serve approximately 80 individuals over the course of the next two years, began implementation in July, and currently has three active participants.
Eligible inmates must be 18 years old and a resident of Jefferson County whose offenses include things like assault , burglary, criminal mischief; criminal trespass and misdemeanor narcotics. Cases involving the use of a firearm are excluded from the program.