Feb 23, 2009

OSI: Public Safety Compact

Here's some news about an interesting new initiative that the Open Society Institute is spearheading in Baltimore:

"Maryland state and private officials are launching a new innovative model aimed at reducing recidivism and cutting state incarceration costs by offering comprehensive services to a group of inmates who will be released appropriately from prison and immediately assisted with their re-entry into the community.

The Public Safety Compact will provide drug addiction treatment and other services to people both in prison and after they return to the community. Research shows that if people receive drug addiction treatment in prison and when they return to the community, they are significantly less likely to return to prison.

The Public Safety Compact is part of the Maryland Opportunity Compact, a public-private partnership aimed at making government work more efficiently by saving tax dollars and producing better results. The Public Safety Compact was signed recently by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (MD DPSCS), Baltimore's Safe and Sound Campaign, the Family League of Baltimore City and Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems and the Open Society Institute-Baltimore. OSI also provided funding support and helped to design and negotiate the initiative."

It will be interesting to follow the progress of this effort -- notably, these reentry activities have been included as part of a plan to make government work more efficiently, both in terms of fiscal savings and in terms of community outcomes. Here's a lesson to be learned for how to package and promote reentry efforts to government partners, especially in the current economic context: make the argument that better reentry practices save us all money!