In this addition of, Recovery Times, I will look at Dutchess County Jail (DCJ), because of recent public concern over the planned construction of a larger, higher capacity, high cost, prison facility (200+ mil). The following insights reflect my review of research, and professional insight as an informed faith leader, and mental health stakeholder in the community. The need for positive social change is urgent in the Mid-Hudson Valley. I am compelled to issue a series of articles on certain pertinent social factors.
In 2011, the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) at SUNY New Paltz, released a report calling for collaboration focused efforts to stem the growing need for jail space (Simons & Benjamin, 2011). In 2012, the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council (DCCJC) released a study of DCJ and projected the need to build a larger facility (Still & Krom, 2012). An annexed scholarly response (from Joshua Simons of CRREO), to the research study criticized the report’s pessimistic reliance upon pathological assumption models since such forecast models will only show increasing needs (Still & Krom, 2012).
The bifurcated report in the second part, seemed not to rely upon its own recommendations, concerning alternatives to incarceration stratagems in the first part; and did not inform the report’s overall summative / conclusory analysis, and decision forecasting (Still & Krom, 2012). Commentators referenced the prior comprehensive CRREO report which was indicated as a possible guide for future cost saving collaborative management (Still & Krom, 2012); (Simons & Benjamin, 2011). Concerned stakeholders from informed community sectors including Mr. Odel Winfield, of ENJAN, (End the New Jim Crow Action Network), and many of its members, cited racial disproportion issues related to mass incarceration, and called for systemic change, and advised against the current plan (Still & Krom, 2012). In hindsight the forecast models of the (DCCJC) proved pragmatic given higher than estimated incarceration levels, due to the present heroin epidemic, and other systemic economic forces; However, the CRREO collaboration report (Simons & Benjamin, 2011), and the cautionary advice of EJAN remains potentially the best guides for future action (Still & Krom, 2012).
Conclusion and Recommendations:
- Current DCJ alternatives to incarceration efforts depends on COMPAS to vet candidates; however, COMPAS (was tested on 91,000 offenders) and did NOT perform any better than ordinary behavioral health assessments from existing case records; however, COMPAS is a helpful management tool which should be an adjunct to professional assessment and case management at best (Zhang, Roberts, & Farabee, 2011).
- Government stakeholders propose using the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI), which treats the addiction, rather than arresting the addict (Tyner, D-Rhinebeck:, 2016) (which could produce positive effects).
- Implement SBIRT, one of the most successful prevention and referral to treatment screening tools in behavioral health (OASAS recommended) which can be integrated (with COMPAS or PAARI) among law enforcement, provider agencies, opioid prescribers, and DBH as an income generating, evidenced based, intervention tool (see SBIRT at IRETA.org, and OASAS recovery SBIRT initiatives). We offer SBIRT FREE online courseware for providers click here
- Implement planning inclusive of EJAN concerns, and other such organizations which illustrates how to combat racism, and mass incarceration issues (Alameen, 2016).
- Implement electronic monitoring, as per CRREO, housing an offender costs an average of over $185 per day; whereas, electronic monitoring for all nonviolent offenders would cost only $2 per day (Simons & Benjamin, 2011).
- Seek effective solutions to high cost transportation and overtime/pension related staffing associated with boarding out offenders which is the bulk of prohibitive charges and implement the CRREO report’s other recommendations (Simons & Benjamin, 2011).
- End juvenile incarceration and special housing (SHU) of offenders under 21 in favor of community alternatives like JDAI which are cost effective and evidenced based see (“Jdai-practice-guides”).
- Monitor and advocate for affordable bails, and require strict judicial enforcement of speedy trial parameters, and end legal aid advocacy failures related to 6th Amendment protections.
- Better integrate mental health and local law enforcement services in accordance with OASAS standards related to recovery principles (Alameen, 2010).
- Build substitute temporary housing and organize a recovery plan for returnees recognizing the harmful effects of incarceration and the power of resilience;(Alameen, 2015) and for information on reentry see video below:
- Board out violent offenders to UCJ reducing costs by half (avg. cost only $110 per day) which would extremely benefit UCJ (Simons & Benjamin, 2011); (Smith, 2016).
End the senseless mass incarceration of the addicted, impoverished, and or mentally ill, people of mostly African American and Latino decent. Allow access to GED prep and college at DCJ, and include TASC type interventions and transitional healing programs to reintegrate offenders. Support humanistic evidenced based treatments, which positively impact the community and keep it safe, with all God’s speed I encourage these changes.
Imam Hamzah Alameen, Mhs, CHSP
(He is a behavioral health scientist specializing in recovery orientated systems of care, marriage & family therapy, and human services. He is member of masjid Mutakabbir, and former Dutchess County jail chaplain, and a community mental health services provider. He is president of the National Institute of Muslim Human Service Practitioners and editor of the Journal of Islamic Mental Health and Counseling (nimhsp.org; nimhspusa@gmail,com); and he is the clinical director of Crisis Recovery Network, firstname.lastname@example.org; 845-332-6442.)
Alameen, H. (2010). Literature Review: Recovery Orientated Systems of Care. Academia. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/18947056/Literature_Review_Recovery_Orientated_Systems_of_Care
Alameen, H. (2015). 7 principles of life change for sharing and maintaining Muslim mental health in. Academia. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/26496271/7_Principles_of_Life_Change_For_Sharing_and_Maintaining_Muslim_Mental_Health_in
Alameen, H. (2016). Open 10pt. Plan for systemic social change of racist police departments b/c #blacklifematters, # “ we can’t breathe! .” Academia. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/26821158/Open_10pt._Plan_for_Systemic_Social_Change_of_Racist_Police_Departments_b_c_blacklifematters_We_Cant_Breathe_
Jdai-practice-guides. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://www.jdaihelpdesk.org/SitePages/jdai-practice-guides.aspx
Simons, J., & Benjamin, G. (2011). A collaborative approach to county jailing in the Hudson valley Sullivan county jail: What does the history of the state’s oldest jail suggest for its future? Hudson valley pattern for progress. Retrieved from http://www.newpaltz.edu/media/crreo/jail_study_final_report.pdf
Smith, J. J. (2016, October 13). Dutchess’ temporary jail pods means less money for Ulster. Retrieved October 17, 2016, from General News, http://hudsonvalleyone.com/2016/10/13/dutchess-temporary-jail-pods-means-less-money-for-ulster/
Still, M. E., & Krom, G. (2012, October). Criminal Justice Needs Assessment – Final Report. Retrieved from http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/CriminalJusticeCouncil/CJSystemNeedsAssessment.pdf
Tyner, D-Rhinebeck:, J. (2016, October 9). Writers address jail plan. Poughkeepsie Journal. Retrieved from http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/opinion/letters/2016/10/09/writers-address-jail-plan-bottini-saga-road-speed-limit/91831570/
Zhang, S. X., Roberts, R. E. L., & Farabee, D. (2011). An analysis of prisoner Reentry and parole risk using COMPAS and traditional criminal history measures. Crime & Delinquency, 60(2), 167–192. doi:10.1177/0011128711426544