FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OJP
JULY 15, 2002 202/307-0703
OKLAHOMA TO RECEIVE FEDERAL FUNDS FOR OFFENDER REENTRY EFFORTS
WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General John Ashcroft announced today that Oklahoma will receive a total of $1,997,978 to support prisoner reentry initiatives. The Oklahoma awards were among 68 grants totaling $100 million to support efforts to ensure public safety and reduce victimization by helping returning offenders become productive members of their communities. Forty-nine states, including Oklahoma, and the District of Columbia and Virgin Islands will receive the funds.
The grants, awarded by the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP), are part of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative, an unprecedented collaboration among the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor and Veterans Affairs.
“By educating and treating offenders, we are not only helping them improve their lives, we are reducing the chance they will return to crime and drug abuse,” said Attorney General Ashcroft. “My hope is that the reentry programs will improve public safety and reduce the burden on law enforcement and corrections.”
The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative will build on innovative reentry efforts in states for both juveniles and adults with the goal that these efforts serve as nationwide models. Reentry efforts will begin while offenders are still in correctional facilities, continue through offenders’ transition back into the community and help sustain ex-offenders through services such as employment training and substance abuse and mental health treatment. Efforts will be tailored to any one, or combination of, the following age groups: Youth (ages 14 ‑ 17); Young Adult (ages 18 ‑ 24) and Adult (ages 25-plus). These efforts involve close coordination among institutional corrections, law enforcement, community corrections and other community-based service providers.
Within Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections will receive 1,000,608 and will target high-risk offenders ages 18 to 35. The program will focus on the treatment needs of each offender being released, utilizing a coordinated reentry plan developed and implemented by a team composed of corrections and community based transition staff. The Oklahoma Office of
Juvenile Affairs will receive $997,370 and will provide institutional and community‑based transition services to youthful offenders ages 12 to 20 from Oklahoma, Cleveland, Canadian, Logan, and Pottawatomie Counties.
“These programs are all tailored to meet the unique needs of the state and local communities,” added Ashcroft. “But they draw together different disciplines to develop state-of-the art, integrated reentry efforts.”
The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative is designed to address all three stages involved in returning an offender to the community. The process involves education, treatment and life skills programs while offenders are in institutions, services and supervision as they reenter the community and networks of agencies, and individuals to support offenders as they become productive and law-abiding members of their communities.
More information about the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative and other OJP programs is available on OJP’s Website at www.ojp.usdoj.gov . Media should contact OJP’s Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.
# # #