$8 million in county savings since opening

Wilkes-Barre (Luzerne County)

A reentry service center, combined with reentrant-funded electronic monitoring, saves money and expands options for county

Challenge

Luzerne County, Pa., includes nearly 320,000 residents living within 900 square miles. GEO Reentry Services and affiliate BI Incorporated have a long-standing relationship with the county that began when Luzerne County Probation initiated a BI Incorporated-managed electronic home monitoring program in 1998. In 2010, GEO Reentry Services partnered with the county to oversee the opening and operation of a reentry service center in Wilkes-Barre to alleviate jail crowding and address the underlying issues contributing to the problem.

Solution

A combined reentry service center and electronic monitoring program has proven to be an effective solution for the county.

GEO Reentry Services was selected to operate the RSC based on the company’s expertise operating evidence-based programs focused on reducing recidivism. The center is capable of handling up to 150 individuals at one time and opened in July 2010. Individuals include probationers, parolees and pretrial and direct-sentence reentrants. Currently, the center treats approximately 90 individuals at a time through a variety of evidence-based programs, cognitive behavioral treatment designed to change criminal behavior, and community partnerships.

For the electronic monitoring program, BI Incorporated took responsibility for handling all case management duties, using its patented technology to monitor between 140 and 160 participants each day on GPS, trans-dermal alcohol detection, and electronic monitoring systems. The program is structured as a sliding-scale offender-pay program, and is a service of the courts, allowing judges to sentence any reentrant deemed appropriate, regardless of income.

Results

The county has seen a significant cost savings as a result of both the electronic monitoring program and the reentry service center. Since 2002, the electronic monitoring program has saved the county more than 460,000 “incarcerated days” and more than $40 million in jail bed costs by diverting individuals to community supervision. Moreover, a majority of the technology costs are also being offset by the reentrant fees to participate in the program. The program retained a successful completion rate of 90 percent in 2013, and delivers strict accountability for court-ordered schedules.

The RSC has generated significant additional savings for the county, including $8 million in diversion savings. The program has also helped to alleviate a significant jail overcrowding problem. The program has also reduced administrative caseload duties, allowing probation officers to focus on ensuring compliance, conducting field supervision, making home visits and tending court-related matters.

Wilkes-Barre (Luzerne County)