Transitions Program Summary
The Transitions Program commenced in March 2021 as a collaboration between the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, CASL, and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) to provide housing and case management for inmates post-release. The 90-day program connects reentrants with hands-on case management services from CASL to ensure participants attend essential mental health and substance use treatment services and receive medical care and employment placement services.
One of the first questions an inmate has when approaching their release date is, “Where will I go?”
Not widely known, inmates incarcerated for 90 or more days are no longer classified as homeless when released, meaning many of these individuals return to homelessness, likely resulting in repeat arrests. CASL has dedicated five housing units with personalized case management to give participants the tools to integrate back into the community. For many, this is the first time of any sense of normalcy and a gift of hope for a new life.
There is a desperate need in our region to break that cycle.
Formerly incarcerated individuals are ten times more likely to fall into homelessness than the general public. Trauma exposure and untreated behavioral health conditions can contribute to homelessness among criminal justice-involved individuals. Individuals being released from jail have numerous challenges to overcome with few resources and support, often leading to a repetitive cycle of arrests and more.
For those in the program, the recidivism rate back to jail and homelessness was reduced from 65% to 20%.
Additionally, all the participants are employed and are receiving behavioral health treatment services. Lieutenant Arlene Tracy of the SCSO underlined the reduced recidivism rate “The innovative transitions program gives these individuals safe housing while they continue their reintegration process. This partnership is a step towards preventing the revolving door of incarceration for those that suffer from a co-occurring disorder.”