President’s Update

bill-deboerWe finished the fiscal year with a flurry of activity as referrals reached 248 in the month of September. A complete report on all of the year’s activity and data will be included in our annual report coming out in December.
We have been working on a number of new programs and changes, including a new partnership with Lutheran Social Services of Michigan. Be sure to read “Enhancing Heartline” in this issue to learn more about that exciting initiative. Additionally we have been preparing for two major initiatives in the last couple of months.
The first is an expansion of our Bureau of Prisons program in FY2016. In April of 2014 the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) voted unanimously to amend sentencing guidelines to lower penalties for drug offenders. In July of this year, the USSC made this change retroactive, allowing thousands of inmates to have their current sentences reduced. The USSC estimates about 30,000 inmates are eligible for sentence reduction.
The reduced guideline went into effect on November 1, 2014 with releases delayed until November 1, 2015. It is estimated that about 6,600 inmates will be released on November 1 this year. Some inmates will be past both their Residential Reentry Center (RRC) date and their Home Confinement (HC) date and will go directly home. Many, however, will be coming to an RRC like KPEP. We have assured the Federal Judges and the U.S. Probation Office that we have the room available for this influx of residents. We will see an increase in admission through about May of 2016 and then should return to normal referral levels.
We are also excited to be part of a pilot with the Michigan Department of Corrections. The Parole Certain Sanctions Program will be operated in all but one of our locations. The pilot is being funded through the Legislature and is designed to be like the Swift and Sure Program for Probationers.
The concept behind the program is fairly simple: Immediate short-term responses to any supervision violations reduce negative behaviors. Swift and sure and similar programs, like Project HOPE in Hawaii and POM in Georgia, have shown to reduce missed appointments, reduce positive drug tests, reduce recidivism and reduce jail days among participants. We had a similar program in Michigan called STOP – Short Term of Punishment – but it was cut in 2007. When we implemented STOP in our Calhoun location, our results were dramatic: In 2002, we had 476 participants. We administered 7,425 drug tests; only 5.8% were positive. Of 6,939 PBT’s (Alcohol tests), only 0.67% were positive.
The new program improves on STOP by giving us the ability to place someone in treatment after continued and repeated positive tests. Initial violations will result in 72-hour stays in KPEP. A 3rd or 4th violation may result in a 15-30 day treatment episode. If use continues, a longer term of 60-90 days may be directed.

We are pleased to be part of this pilot and look forward to sharing the results in future newsletters.