Re-Entry Program

Pre and Post-Release Services

The Re-Entry Program is a joint effort by the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative to provide pre- and post-release services to men and women serving a county sentence in the Allegheny County Jail or an alternative housing facility.

General Information

All clients must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be serving a county sentence of at least three months in Allegheny County Jail and/or have minor charges and several detainers. Must be staying in ACJ for 90 days or longer.
  2. Must be medium or high risk to recidivate based on a validated risk assessment tool.
  3. Must have probation or parole in Allegheny County following their sentence.
  4. Must not be involved with a specialty court.

The Re-Entry Program targets clients with the greatest need for services who will be in a county correctional institution and supervised by Allegheny County for a period of sustained service.

Each week, the Allegheny County Jail receives a list of all offenders who have been sentenced to ACJ or Alternative Housing by the Allegheny County Courts during the prior week. The list is screened and all clients who meet the criteria are enrolled in the Re-Entry Program.

Re-Entry Pod

Re-Entry Pod residents live in a structured-living environment while participating in classes and re-entry services provided in the Jail Re-Entry Center, education classrooms and program pod. Clients receive service coordination through the pod coordinator who does a comprehensive assessment and places the client in classes based on his risk/needs assessment.

Clients in the Re-Entry Program living on the pod have the opportunity to engage in Narcotics Anonymous and programs focused on finding employment and maintaining financial responsibility. Additionally, clients learn about furthering their education through guest speakers from several trade schools, including Community Kitchen Pittsburgh, Community College of Allegheny County, New Century Careers, Trade Institute of Pittsburgh and The University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering (Pitt Mac).

All clients must meet the following criteria:

  1. Must be medium or high risk to reactivate based on a validated risk assessment tool.
  2. Must be approved by the Allegheny County Jail Classification Department for housing on pod.

Re-Entry Pod clients will receive a risk and needs assessment within seven days of entering the pod. A Service Plan they must follow while in incarcerated will be developed based on this assessment. The plan is sent to the client's Judge to inform the him/her of all the educational, vocational and behavior health services the client is engaging in while in jail. Clients will be seen by the Jail Service Coordinator every other week on the Re-Entry Pod or when necessary.

Re-Entry Classes

Enrollment Policy

Incarcerated individuals may be referred to Re-Entry and educational classes by court order, program staff, ACJ staff or written request as a self-referral. The policy of the Allegheny County Jail for enrollment is to give first priority to individuals who have been targeted for services based on medium/high risk and need.

The order for placement in all classes is as follows:

  1. Court ordered
  2. Re-Entry 1
  3. Re-Entry Pod residents
  4. Treatment Pod referral
  5. Staff/provider referral
  6. Self-referral

Re-Entry and Educational Classes

Thinking for Change (Pittsburgh Mercy Health System)
A 12-week, evidence-based program designed to help clients learn a new way of thinking by changing “criminal thinking” to a more positive and productive way of solving problems and handling stress. It includes structured cognitive behavioral treatment modalities and addresses thoughts and beliefs that lead to anti-social and criminal behaviors. While still incarcerated and in a controlled and monitored environment, the participants have the opportunity to model and practice problem-solving skills and report pro-social behavior choices to the group. The curriculum contains 22 lessons and can be expanded to meet the needs of the participant. A separate group, facilitated by military veterans, is available for veterans.

Breaking Free: The Power of Choice (Pittsburgh Mercy Health System)
An eight-week Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT) program with a curriculum based in part on Thinking for Change. The program is provided in the jail and offered in the community to clients referred by the ACJ, Probation or self-referral. Classroom locations include the Community Office, Probation Day Reporting centers, Renewal (men only) and in the ACJ on the Re-Entry Pod (men only).

Family Support Services (Pittsburgh Mercy Health System)
Clients receive family support services that include coordination and support with their families. Participants in parenting classes are eligible to receive additional-structured contact with their families through family contact visits and family phone calls. Parenting and relationship education build the basic skills clients need to develop and maintain healthy, nurturing relationships with their children and understand how incarceration can impact a child’s life.

Male Parenting Classes-Parenting Inside/Out (Pittsburgh Mercy Health System)
The nationally-known curriculum helps fathers learn parenting skills, including discipline, family problem solving, responsibility, maintaining healthy relationships, building self-worth and creating a fathering plan. Clients enrolled in the class are also eligible for Family Support Services with a Family Support Specialist.

Female Parenting Classes-Parenting on the Inside (Pittsburgh Mercy Health System)
Classes for women follow the “Parenting on the Inside” curriculum, which has been used in regional jails and state prisons nationwide to prepare women to manage the stress and emotions associated with being a mother in prison, handling difficult and sensitive situations with their children and connecting with their children through phone conversations, letter writing and visitation. Clients enrolled in the class are provided with Family Support Services and the service of a Family Support Specialist.

Male and Female Relationship Classes-Walking the Line (Pittsburgh Mercy Health System)
The curriculum addresses the challenges of incarceration on maintaining healthy relationships. The class specifically addresses conflict resolution, communication, stress management, the impact and value of caregiver-child relationships and life skills to prepare for successful re-entry into the community.

Batterers’ Intervention Program (Wesley Family Services of PA)
The Allegheny County Jail contracts with Batterers’ Intervention Program providers to offer classes to help clients understand how abusive behaviors develop and progress. The program also offers solutions and helps to develop more healthy options for dealing with emotions. Clients may continue classes in the community after release.

Outpatient Drug and Alcohol Treatment (Renewal Inc.)
The Outpatient Drug & Alcohol Treatment program offers individual and group therapy to clients on a weekly basis. The program is based on a continuity of care model with outpatient services, beginning in the jail and continuing after release. Upon release, the program offers a transition to community-based outpatient D&A services with a variety of providers.

Any inquiries into the Re-Entry Program at the Allegheny County Jail should be directed to Amy Kroll at 412-350-5038.