The Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Initiative (MPRI) is an effort by the State of Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) to help create safer neighborhoods and better citizens, while reducing recidivism by eliminating the barriers to a successful re-entry. In October 2007, Michigan Works! Kent and Allegan Counties as the MPRI fiduciary contracted with Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services to serve as the general services contractor for the Kent and Allegan County MPRI program. The journey for a returning citizen begins while they are still incarcerated. Most of our returning citizens are released from our in reach facility, Ionia Bellamy Creek (IBC), where the evidencebased practices begin. IBC is one of the Stateâ€™s Learning Sites offering programming which is used statewide as a benchmark for other facilities. It is projected that in this current year, we will have over 650 referrals come in from that site alone. Combining the referrals from other facilities, we anticipate approximately 1,100 referrals. Adding in the carry-ins from previous years, we work with a caseload of approximately 1,600 returning citizens from Kent & Allegan Counties. Pre-release case work includes a broad spectrum of ideas. To focus more intently on what one faces when coming from such a structured environment to life in the real world, the parole board refers people to the program which is housed in a special unit at IBC. Course work and workshops include resume building, job search, substance abuse, family strengthening and cognitive /behavioral therapy. This phase lasts from six months prior to release, to as little as two months. Pine Rest is part of these pre-release services offered to MPRI returning citizens. The family strengthening courses are lead by therapists, social workers and case managers from Pine Restâ€™s Caring Communities. Pine Rest Case Managers, referred to as In Reach Service Coordinators, visit the facility and conduct monthly orientations, along with teams of service providers from Kent & Allegan Counties. Here, a sense of what a returning citizen can expect once in the community and what is expected from the returning citizen are discussed. Additional orientations are done throughout the month prior to release. A representative from our Housing Support program speaks about options available for the returning citizen. Family Support Services begins working with those interested in establishing links to the family in the community prior to release. Mentor Services looks at potential interest to start searching for a match after release.
Two to four weeks prior to release, In Reach Service Coordinators and representatives from the Kent and Allegan County Parole office conduct a video conference with the returning citizen. During the conference, a review of the returning citizenâ€™s needs is determined by the individual and their COMPAS and TAP [assessment tools]. An initial service plan is developed to meet identified needs. Upon release, a returning citizen must first report to their assigned Parole Agent. They are then directed to the MPRI Re-entry Village for a meeting with their In-Reach Service Coordinator. The service plan is reviewed for any modifications and each appointment is confirmed with the appropriate service provider. These appointments include a Workforce Development provider to assist the returning citizen with employment needs. Other referrals may include assistance with vital documents, clothing and hygiene products, Cognitive Self Change, Legal Aid, Family Support, and Mentoring services. A one-time bus pass is also provided to the returning citizen if transportation is needed. Other community based resources are also reviewed. A Department of Human Services application, a list of meal resources and food pantries, medical resources and instructions for further education are reviewed. As a follow up, an appointment is scheduled for four weeks later with their In-Reach Service Coordinator. This is to verify that services have been accessed, appointments made and to see if additional needs have come up. Communication is one of the keys for success with each individualâ€™s service plan. Close communication is maintained with the individual Parole Agents. A regular communication regimen of reporting is maintained with all service providers to verify attendance at appointments, follow up appointments, and any additional needs that may come up. For additional information concerning the MPRI program for Kent & Allegan Counties please contact the Re-Entry Village: MPRI Main Office-616/456-0856.