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Department of Public Safety awarded Second Chance funds

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hawaii Intake Service Center, an agency within the state Department of Public Safety, has been awarded a Second Chance Act grant of $597,576 through the Office Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice.

The award will be used to support pre- and post-release reentry services for medium to high risk sentenced inmates diagnosed with a co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders, who are within six to 12 months of release from the Hawaii Community Correctional Center (HCCC).

The aim is to reduce recidivism by providing a comprehensive program of integrated co-occurring disorder treatment, social services and individual counseling – beginning prior to release and followed with rapid linkages to services after release into the community.

Previously HCCC only offered limited mental health services and crisis counseling within the facility. This grant will make it possible to continue the current program while expanding to provide mental health reentry services and integrated co-occuring disorder treatment through group and individual counseling.

In addition, the program will provide screening and eligibility determination for Adult Mental Health Services, prior to a participant’s release from custody, and support groups for both men and women will be established for participants pending release.

“We have included both evidenced based and innovative approaches in the new program,” Hawaii County Reentry Program Clinical Supervisor Arthur Pinkney said. “We will be implementing ideas that arose from what we learned from the current program.”

Hawaii Certified Peer Mentor and Volunteer, Debbie Marie said the new program will be more focused and allow them to provide better preparation for the participants prior to their release.

“Providing in-reach services of this kind will help to strengthen the participant’s capacity to successfully transition from jail to the community,” Marie said.

Tyrone Castro is a program participant who says he knows the value of these programs behind prison walls as well as on the outside.

“The current program has made a difference in my life and I am looking forward to helping in whatever way I can with the new program,” Castro said.

The program’s proposal received wide support from lawmakers like State Sen. Will Espero, and the community including the Going Home Consortium, various mental health and substance abuse treatment providers, and the Hawaii Community Correctional Center.

“We are thrilled to see that these much needed services will be enhanced with the new program,” Care Hawaii, Kona Team Leader David Weiner said.

For more information about the Second Chance Act Reentry Program for Adult Offenders with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders program on the Big Island, call Kelcie Makaike at 933-8831, or Arthur Pinkney at 937-1693.

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