Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New Smart on Crime Program Aids Recently Released Offenders to Reenter the Community

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a unique partnership has been formed consisting of local, regional and national private business entities to aid moderate to high-risk offenders in the federal criminal justice system, who have been recently released into the community.

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania operates the Court Assisted Re-Entry (CARE) Program, which is a four-phase program designed to aid in the rehabilitation and re-integration of recently released federal inmates.  The members of the program include the U.S. District Court, U.S Attorney’s Office, U.S. Probation, Federal Public Defenders Office and county volunteers.

A new partnership between ESSA Bank & Trust, Northampton Community College, Pyramid Healthcare Inc. and the CARE Program institutes a precedent setting program whereby CARE participants will team with a bank, community college and healthcare officials to help them get back on their feet.

ESSA Bank & Trust will institute a Financial Literacy Program where CARE participants will be instructed by bank officials on money management issues.  In addition, it will institute a CARE Loan Program that would provide loans up to $15,000 to qualifying active CARE participants and CARE graduates for housing, education/training, or transportation.  On Aug. 12, 2015, the official launch of the program, ESSA Bank & Trust announced its first loan in the amount of $13,750 for a CARE participant to purchase a car as transportation to her employment.

Northampton Community College will provide educational opportunities including a G.E.D. program and adult basic education courses.

Pyramid Healthcare Inc. will administer a drug and alcohol treatment and counseling program and perform a Level of Care Assessment for each participant entering into the CARE program.    

The combined partnership of the CARE Program will assist individuals under federal supervision to successfully re-enter their communities and become responsible, self-sufficient, contributing and law-abiding citizens.

In early 2013, the Justice Department launched a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system in order to identify reforms that will ensure felony laws are enforced more fairly and more efficiently.

This review led to the Smart on Crime initiative announced by Attorney General Eric Holder in August 2013, which maps a way forward for meeting our criminal justice challenges, including bolstering prevention and reentry efforts to deter crime and reduce recidivism.  The new CARE partnership with ESSA Bank & Trust, Northampton Community College and Pyramid Healthcare is a step forward in the “Smart on Crime” initiative and reinforces the Justice Department’s commitment to making the criminal justice system work more efficiently.

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