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DHS News September 2010 

pdf.gif September 2010 DHS Newsletter 

DHS initiative honored again by Harvard’s Ash Center

The Allegheny County Jail Collaborative was recently honored by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as an initiative featured in the Center’s newly-created Bright Ideas program.

“It is truly an honor that Allegheny County’s forward-thinking approaches to unemployment and public safety have been recognized in the inaugural year of Harvard’s Bright Ideas program,” said Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. “The Allegheny County Jail Collaborative continues its effort to stop the revolving door of recidivism by providing inmates the tools they need to succeed after incarceration.”

The Jail Collaborative is a cooperative effort among DHS and the Allegheny County Jail, Health Department and Court of Common Pleas. It was formed in 1999 with the purpose of improving public safety, reducing recidivism and increasing success for inmates following incarceration.

“As a member of the Jail Collaborative, DHS is honored to be recognized by the Ash Center for our continuing efforts to improve the futures of individuals released from incarceration,” said Marc Cherna, DHS Director. “Our Jail Collaborative programs work with inmates before and after their release from jail, to help them successfully re-integrate into their communities as productive adults. By doing so, we also improve public safety by reducing the likelihood of future criminal activity and recidivism.”

In 2009, the Jail Collaborative was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice under the Federal Second Chance Act Prisoner Reentry Initiative to expand its inmate rehabilitation programs with a new program, the Allegheny County Reentry Initiative.

“With the new initiative, we have begun to implement our new strategic plan, assessing the needs of sentenced inmates to develop a plan for services that will be provided in jail and then coordinated and continued in the community for the inmate and his or her family for up to a year after release,” said Warden Ramon Rustin. “We have teams in place that assist with education, job training, and housing after release from the Jail, with the goal being reducing repeat crimes and making our communities safer. We are honored that the work of everyone involved in this import effort is being recognized nationally.”

This recognition for the Jail Collaborative marks the third time that DHS programs have been recognized nationally by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance. Previously, the Allegheny County DHS Justice Related State Support Program won the Innovations in American Government Award, and the Allegheny County Adoption Legal Services Project was named among the Top 50 Government Innovations in the country.

About Bright Ideas

Bright Ideas is an initiative that recognizes creative and promising government programs and partnerships. The initiative is offered through the Innovations in Government Program, a program of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School.

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