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NYS Grant Helps Extend Program @ Jamesville to Help Inmates Break Criminal Habits, Reduce Recidivism

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Chris Bolt/WAER News
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More inmates in Jamesville prison will be getting help to try and keep them from going back to prison once they finish their sentences, thanks to a state grant.  The Center for Community Alternatives runs “Thinking for a Change.”

Re-Integration Director Ron Boxx said they work with inmates on the patterns that led to crime.

“They talk about what choices they have made that have led them to be incarcerated. They’re able to, as a group, decide kind of what led to those choices and then identify what they can do differently moving forward to not face those same consequences,” said Boxx.

LISTEN TO SPECIAL CITY LIMITS PROJECT STORY ON PRISON & POVERTY HERE.

The State Department of Criminal Justice Services gave CCA a grant of $170,000 to continue and expand the program at Jamesville. Deputy Commissioner Mike Greene said they’re trying to find ways to cut down on ex-inmates being arrested for new crimes.

“We looked at what could we do in a cost-effective way to try and reduce those recidivism rates and make the state safer,” said Greene. “The cognate behavioral interventions are relatively low cost and proven to be very effective in helping change behavior to inmates who are traditionally very high risk of reoffending.”

CCA’s Ron Boxx said it can be tough to get out of routines that will put former inmates in bad situations once they come out.

“You know we all have different habits and breaking a habit takes a while and requires a lot of support. Being able to do that while someone is incarcerated, before they return to their home environments where they’re going to face all of those same situations… have trial and error through what they will do differently next time,” said Boxx.

He said the grant expands how many inmates they can work with.  It also goes along with programs for job skills and child care that can help an ex-inmate find and keep employment.  Boxx said the grant supports the program for three years.

OTHER CNY PROGRAMS THAT RECEIVED DCJS GRANTS TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM:

  • Cayuga County – Cayuga Counseling Services, $63,450
  • Livingston County – Catholic Charities of Livingston County, $135,700
  • Oneida County - Oneida Workforce Development, $146,700
  • Oswego County – Oswego County Probation Department, $27,000
  • Monroe County – Volunteers of America of Upstate New York, $217,730