DCJS County Re-entry Task Force Initiative
In November 2005, the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) established county re-entry task forces. These task forces were designed to reduce recidivism by coordinating and strengthening community supports in response to high-risk offenders transitioning from prison back to the community. In 2011, DCJS re-vamped the CRTF initiative by requiring the use of evidence-based practices. Contracts now are performance-based and achievements are measured by the attainment of specific goals implemented to reduce recidivism.
Currently, nineteen CRTFs receive state funding. Bi-monthly task force meetings and bi-weekly case conference meetings bring together the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), other stakeholders, service providers and community resources needed to help those released from prison become productive members of the community. By providing this help, the Task Forces make an investment in each participant and enhance public safety.
In addition to funding, DCJS provides training and technical assistance to the County Re-entry Task Forces. Visit this webpage often to learn what’s new in the County Re-entry Task Forces.
The goal of New York State’s re-entry strategy is to reduce recidivism and promote community safety. In November 2005, the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) developed a Task Force model to coordinate and strengthen community program services that help high-risk offenders remain crime-free as they transition from prison back to the community. The DCJS Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives revamped the structure of the CRTFs in 2011 to include performance-based contracting and the required use of evidence-based practices, including cognitive behavioral interventions and employment-focused goals.
CRTFs are charged with coordinating and managing services provided to individuals to ensure effective re-entry into the community. The task force includes the collaboration of diverse organizations to work together in support of case-managed services to moderate to high-risk offenders upon their release from prison. The use of active case management ultimately supports re-entry clients to meet the conditions of their parole and to remain crime-free and violation-free. The task force model includes agencies that represent law enforcement, community supervision, social services, mental health, victim advocacy and substance abuse treatment providers.
DCJS funds County Re-entry Task Forces to operate in the following counties: Albany, Bronx, Broome, Dutchess, Erie, Kings, Monroe, Nassau, New York, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster, and Westchester.
Task Force Organizational Structure
County Re-entry Task Forces function to reduce recidivism and increase public safety through the coordination of services provided to individuals released from prison. CRTFs, working in collaboration with the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), coordinate service delivery to moderate and high risk offenders, which address their criminogenic and stabilization needs. CRTFs also work to increase the community’s capacity to assist in offender re-entry and reintegration through public education and the development of necessary services.
CRTF leadership is based on two designated co-chairs: One represents the chief elected county official while the second is designated by the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). The co-chairs oversee the work of the CRTF Coordinator, who is responsible for the day-to-day CRTF operations.
County Leader/Re-entry Task Force Co-Chair
The Chief Elected Official or his/her designee, may include a representative from an administrative county agency, such as the Director of Probation, the Commissioner of Mental Health, the District Attorney, the Commissioner of Social Services, the Criminal Justice Advisory Board Chair, the Alternatives to Incarceration Advisory Board Chair, or the Chair of the Board of Supervisors.
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Co-Chair
State Parole officers are legally responsible for the court-mandated supervision of individuals released from state correctional facilities to ensure compliance with conditions of release. The DOCCS Co-Chair is charged with the management and supervision of those released from prison to the community. The DOCCS Co-Chair ensures coordination between DOCCS facility staff, DOCCS field staff and the CRTF. The DOCCS Co-Chair is responsible for referring moderate and high-risk offenders released from DOCCS to the CRTF for case management.
County Re-entry Task Force Coordinator
The County Re-entry Task Force Coordinator oversees the day-to-day functions of the CRTF. Specifically, the Coordinator:
- Engages appropriate state and local partners to provide benefits, services, and community-level support that address the criminogenic and stabilization needs of re-entry clients.
- Schedules and convenes task force and case conferencing meetings with appropriate agency representatives.
- Develops detailed meetings agendas.
- Notifies DCJS of all scheduled CRTF meetings.
- Promotes the task force’s role as a referral agent that connects re-entry clients with needed services.
- Acts as the primary liaison with the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to receive appropriate referrals for re-entry services, and with DCJS for program implementation.
- Coordinates case-managed services to individuals for successful community re-entry of those released from state prison.
- Completes administrative reports for submission to DCJS by established due dates. These reports include:
- Monthly Intake and Discharge reports.
- Quarterly Program Progress reports.
County Re-entry Task Force Functions and Membership
The Coordinator facilitates bi-monthly meetings of the full County Re-entry Task Force and bi-weekly meetings of the Case Conferencing Committee. The CRTF and Case Conferencing committees establish and maintain a regular meeting schedule. The Coordinator documents the activities of the CRTF and Case Conferencing Committee and develops detailed agendas for each meeting.
County Re-entry Task Force Meetings
To achieve state and local re-entry goals, each CRTF conducts strategic planning throughout the program period to develop effective approaches to serving individuals, build local capacity to meet service needs and to educate the public about re-entry efforts that seek to improve public safety. The CRTF systematically identifies gaps in services experienced by re-entry cases.
Required CRTF Membership
Re-entry Task Force membership varies by county or agency, as the needs of returning individuals and available system resources are expected to differ across jurisdictions. CRTFs include the following members:
- Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) Co-Chair.
- County Co-Chair – Chief Elected Official or designee.
- CRTF Coordinator.
- County Department of Social Services Commissioner or Designee.
- County Department of Mental Health Commissioner or Designee.
- Service providers receiving referrals from CRTF (must include housing, employment and CBI represented programs).
- Community Organizations.
- If an IMPACT county, a police representative involved with IMPACT.
- Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Field Office.
Other suggested members may include:
- An individual formerly under supervision.
- Victim Advocacy Organization(s).
- County Department of Probation Director, Commissioner or Designee.
- Local VESID (Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities) Office.
- Local One-Stop Center (Department of Labor).
- Local Housing Authority.
- Representatives from U.S. Veteran Affairs Office, State Division of Veterans' Affairs or County Veterans Service Agency.
- District Attorney’s Office.
- County legislators.
- Local research partner.
- Local educators.
- Court representatives.
- Representatives from the business community.
- Strategic Planning and System-wide Coordination
Re-entry Task Forces continually assess the effectiveness of the county’s re-entry system for consistency with the principles of effective practice. These include:
- Use of Actuarial Risk and Needs assessment (and the identification of Criminogenic Needs).
- Use of Motivational Interviewing techniques.
- The risk principle--targeting higher risk offenders.
- The use of cognitive behavioral approaches.
- Increased use of positive reinforcement and rewards.
- Engagement in ongoing, pro-social support.
- Measuring change and providing measurement feedback.
- Public education and outreach
CRTFs engage the community (including formerly incarcerated individuals and their families) to build comprehensive public education and outreach efforts that encourage participation in re-entry planning and programming. Re-entry Task Forces may conduct public education/outreach activities during the program period. Such activities may include, but are not limited to: public awareness campaigns; mentoring programs; community forum discussions on topics relevant to formerly incarcerated persons and their families; panel discussions featuring re-entry stakeholders; outreach to employers/job fairs and the business community; and publication of informational materials related to criminal justice topics.
Quarterly County Reentry Task Force Program Activity Report (5/13) This report describes the program activity of the 19 County Re-entry Task Forces during the period Oct 1 – December 31, 2012.
Quarterly County Reentry Task Force Program Activity Report (12/12) This report describes the program activity of the 19 County Re-entry Task Forces during the period July 1 –September 30, 2012.
New York State Labor Law §201-f provides that every employer shall post, in a place accessible to his or her employees, a copy of Correction Law Article 23-A relating to the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses.
Transition from Prison to the Community Initiative (TPCI)
New York is one of only eight states invited to participate in the National Institute of Corrections’ (NIC) Transition from Prison to Community Initiative. This initiative involves the collaboration of criminal justice and human service agencies to work with local governments and service providers to integrate evidence-based re-entry policies and programs. Chaired by the Division of Criminal Justice Services, a multi-agency Statewide Offender Re-entry Task Force oversaw the implement the TPCI model of re-entry in New York.
2009 Profile County Re-entry Task Force Participants, (2/2012) This report provides a description of the individuals accepted for services by the task forces during 2009.
Offender Re-Entry Open Meeting (5/2007). Transcript of proceedings during open meeting. DCJS, along with the Department of Correctional Services, the Division of Parole and the Division Probation and Correctional Alternatives hosted a day-long meeting on the barriers to successful return to communities from prison.
Interagency Offender Re-entry Task Force: Interim Report (12/15/2003). Report compiles the results of the New York Statewide Interagency Offender Re-Entry Task Force workgroups.