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Finalist for Change

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Jay Holmes

Sedgwick County, Division of Corrections - Wichita, Kansas

Like many states, in Kansas budget cuts and growth in the corrections population provided challenges. Facing a projected 23-percent growth in the state prison population by FY2021, policymakers turned those challenges into opportunities with the 2013 House Bill (HB) 2170. The bill sought to implement a data-driven “justice reinvestment” approach to develop a statewide policy framework to reduce spending on corrections and reinvest the savings in strategies to increase public safety.

The bill provided a framework for Jay Holmes to elevate the Sedgwick County Division of Corrections. With an average daily population of nearly 1500 clients, the Sedgwick County Division of Corrections manages the largest corrections population in the State of Kansas. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), was advocated by the Council for State Government and approved by the State Legislature in 2013. It involved a competitive grant application process that was dedicated to develop behavior health programs for community corrections to reduce recidivism, improve public safety and curb the demand for future prison space.

Jay Holmes, Deputy Director for Adult Programs in Community Corrections, along with his team, helped develop a comprehensive approach to mitigate the potential negative outcomes from moderate and high-risk cases – and statistics show the program delivers significant positive change.

One of the core objectives of the program was stronger probation supervision. The state recognized probation resources do not consistently focus on practices that are efficient, cost effective or targeted at the people most likely to reoffend.  Other objectives include promote successful reentry and build safer communities.

In research for HB 2170, findings showed a large number of people who failed on probation and were revoked to prison were subsequently released from prison without any community-based supervision. The Sedgwick County Division of Corrections took note, and developed a program to ensure clients receive the support, resources and programming needed to succeed.

Through the JRI, two Recovery Specialists provide peer mentoring services to clients with addiction related problems, and a licensed Addictions Counselor to complete substance abuse evaluations. In addition, the program provides two mental health therapists, two mental health case managers (which are co-located at the facilities), and three cognitive skills facilitators for groups. Intensive supervision officers are responsive to the needs of their clients and make appropriate referrals for them to receive behavioral health services including mental health assessments, case management, therapy sessions, medication management, alcohol and drug assessments, and peer mentoring sessions. This treatment focused model employs a comprehensive approach to effectively keep clients engaged in services that are critical to them succeeding while on probation.

The clients receiving these services are experiencing significantly improved outcomes, as indicated in the performance measures below.

Performance Measures for SFY 2016

  • Number of Program Provider clients served – 252
    • Percent of revocations – 40 (16%)
    • Clients with absconder and jail status – 21 (8%)
  • Mental Health (COMCARE) clients served – 480
    • COMCARE Revocations – 4 (.83%)
    • COMCARE clients with absconder and jail status – 46 (10%)
  • Higher Ground (Addiction provider) clients served – 201
    • Higher Ground revocations – 26 (13%)
    • Higher Ground absconder and jail status – 44 (22%)