Numbers indicate multiple dividends of reentry program

When Lycoming County instituted its reentry program in 2014, there was a dual, related mission.

The program was supposed to cut down on overcrowding at the Lycoming County Prison.

And that was supposed to save the county money.

Five years in, the facts say the mission is being accomplished.

The cost of the reentry program is not cheap. The county has spent $3,440,505 to have the GEO Group provide reentry and electronic monitoring over the past five years.

The program reportedly has saved the county $3,522,820 in prison-related costs.

So the county has spent $82,315 less than would have been spent without the reentry and electronic monitoring programs, John Stahl, deputy adult probation officer, told the Lycoming County Prison Board recently.

There are 85 people in the reentry program and 312 program graduates over its five-year life.

Beyond the numbers, programming at the reentry center, designed to get people prepared to rehabilitate themselves and becoming productive post-incarceration members of the community, has been altered constantly over the course of the past five years.

More alterations are planned, according to Michael Broughton, reentry program manager.

The program management is looking to develop more programming for females and are examining a facility in California as a model for that.

The additions are necessary because the prison system’s female population continues to cause overcrowding transfers. There were four female inmates housed outside the county in April.

As we have said countless times, this program needs to work, but not just to cut down on prison overcrowding and save money for county taxpayers.

The ultimate dividend is rehabilitated people who do not repeat crimes but do become productive parts of our community.

There is plenty of room for improvement, but so far the mission is being fulfilled.

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