Reentry contract – up for renewal – providing results

The contract with the firm operating the Lycoming County Reentry Services Center is up for renewal, leaving the Lycoming County Commissioners with a tough decision. If the commissioners choose not to renew the contract and close the center, they could save Lycoming County money that could be used to hire additional staff. But there would be other costs. If the reentry center were to close, roughly 40 percent of the participants would be in the prison system. And numbers of the past several years indicate that the prison system could not handle that influx without one of two things happening – exorbitant costs to transfer inmates to out-of-county prisons or an expensive new prison construction project. As it stands right now, the Reentry Services Center appears to be paying some major dividends. September saw an average daily prison population of 298 males and 63 females, with no overcrowding transfers for men and roughly three for women. That marked the second consecutive month in which there were no male overcrowding transfers and a continuing decline of prison numbers overall. According to the contract with GEO, a minimum 50 participanets must be enrolled in the program at one time, with a rate of $32.84, unless the participant number rises above 76. Then the rate drops to $25.92. For that expenditure, since 2014 the center transitioned roughly 141 successful participants, and about 40 percent of those people now have stable jobs. The goal of a penal system is supposed to be, at least in part, rehabilitation of lawbreakers and a return of them to productive community participation. With that in mind, the Reentry Services Center appears to be providing at least some positive results for the cost.