Congressmen Issue Grant to Aid Ex-Offenders

Nov 26, 2013

At any given time, there are an estimated 300,000 ex-offenders in Philadelphia. Some are on parole, others are on probation, but all of them are in need of a variety of different services to keep them from re-entering the justice system.

On Monday, U.S. Congressmen Chaka Fattah and Bob Brady announced the awarding of a $749,972 federal grant that would help support what has been called the First Judicial District’s cutting edge probation program.

Flanked by Chief Justice Ron Castille, Common Pleas Court President Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper, Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Ehrlich, Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifield, Supervising Judge, the Honorable Judge Jeffrey Minehart and Charles Hoyt, Chief of the Probation Department and Darlene Miller, Deputy Chief of the Probation Department, Brady said the grant comes from the Bureau of Justice Assistant for the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department.

"I was happy to support this application," Brady said. "We all know that the best way to fight crime is to cut down on repeat offenders. This $749,972 Smart Probation grant will help do just that. Our probation department will partner with the best minds in the criminal justice area to build a science-based program to help these men and women stay out of jail. I am a proud co-sponsor of the Second Chance Act of 2007 that made this grant possible. The Act has been reintroduced and I support it again and I hope that Congress moves it quickly. This is something that we should be able to do with no problem."

The Bureau of Justice Assistance provides funding to state and local governments in order to aid in efforts to reduce recidivism. To that end, it provides funding under the Second Chance Act. The Second Chance Act of 2007 was signed into law by President George Bush in 2008 after receiving broad bipartisan support. The legislation, which is up for renewal this year, aims to cut crime and save local, state and federal money by reducing the recidivism rate. Brady said it is expected that Congress will pass it again with no problem.

Under the leadership of Judge Charles Ehrlich and Chief Probation/Parole Officer Charles Hoyt, APPD has developed a partnership between APPD and two leading scholars in community supervision, Dr. Faye Taxman of George Mason University and Dr. Steven Belenko of Temple University. The goals and objectives of this proposal are devoted to addressing the needs of offenders through effective case plans and managing compliance. The effort will be objectively evaluated and will utilize evidence-based practices and principles to improve probation supervision practices.

"This grant will allow Philadelphia’s Adult Probation and Parole Department to make significant progress in how it supervises offenders, leading to substantial reductions in recidivism and heightened public safety," said Fattah. "I have no doubt that this agency and its commitment to evidence-based practices will serve as a model for others in the Commonwealth and around the country."

November 26, 2011, Larry Miller, The Philadelphia Tribune