New Funding for Jail Diversion and Violence Reduction Stimulates Creative Responses

Nearly a year ago, Madison’s City Council approved $400,000 to fund the first steps of a violence reduction plan developed by the Focused Interruption Coalition.   Three agencies responded to the RFPs issued by the city with proposals that offer both new and  time-tested approaches to reducing recidivism, violence, and the trauma associated with it.

Below are the highlights of the proposals as reported by Abigail Becker in Cap Times. Click here to read “Three Agencies in the Running for Madison’s Long-term Peer Support Program.”

According to the proposal from Nehemiah Community Development Corporation , “Participants would receive peer counseling and case management in addition to help with housing, transportation, access to AODA and mental health services and priority entry into job skills training and placement programs.”

“The program would operate a 24/7 hotline with two dispatchers on call to respond to situations. Each peer support specialist would maintain a caseload of 10 to 15 participants, and services would be provided for no less than six months.”

Madison Urban Ministry (MUM)  would provide participants ” access to community engagement opportunities, peer support and mentoring, employment and housing opportunities and mental health and AODA support.”

MUM’s proposal is particularly strong in terms of job training and opportunities.  An  “innovative element to MUM’s proposal is the urban agriculture employment and vocational training program through the FAIR Initiative. The program would train up to five program participants in literacy and cultural competency skills and local food systems in addition to urban agriculture and entrepreneurial training. Participants would earn $13.01 per hour for the training.

Other employment learning opportunities could be available through FoodShare Employment Training, the Employment and Training Association and MUM’s Just Bakery vocational training program.”   In addition, MUM has a long and successful history offering programs that reduce recidivism.

“Zion City International Church Ministries proposed a program called Renewal After Prison, which is meant to teach skills to make the transition from incarceration successful and to stabilize an individual’s life through support services.”

“Under the program, participants would meet in one of four groups, three time per week for one year and will meet with a case manager until stable. The four groups serve as phases and include the initial transition, integration, family reunification and implementation. After a year, participants who are interested can become a peer support specialist.Under the program, participants would meet in one of four groups, three time per week for one year and will meet with a case manager until stable. The four groups serve as phases and include the initial transition, integration, family reunification and implementation. After a year, participants who are interested can become a peer support specialist.”

UPDATE:  Four city council members are proposing a cut of $250,000 in the $400,000 allocated for this effort.  Click here to read the story.

UPDATE: Nehemiah Community Development Corporation and Madison Urban Ministry were recommended by Madison’s Finance Committee to receive funding.  Click here to read the article.  (The cut of $250,000 was not approved.)

UPDATE:  Dane County DA’s office shows a poor response to the opportunities for diversion through restorative justice.  Click here to read an article in Cap Times.

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