Hudson County Reentry Services

Achievement in the reentry population is reliant on a uniform approach to health insurance assistance, housing assistance, public assistance, health care navigation, and case management. The lack of a unified approach across systems, as well as clarity of individual needs, is the reason for a lack of success in the population transitioning from corrections to the community. The Hudson County Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation is aligned with the primary health care system, social services, public assistance, housing, and Medicaid systems.

Government, non-profit, health care, and social supports are often fragmented and historically have been unable to deliver services in a coordinated effort. Reimbursement variations among systems discourage coordination as unnecessary care or duplication of services is rewarded. The components of care are not speaking to one another which impacts the level of care and confidence in the system.

Hudson County Reentry is a public-private partnership, the Hudson County Department of Correction’s reentry program manages and serves as the unifying entity for all systems of support and can apply for its program within any jurisdiction.

Every individual transitioning out of the Hudson County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation from any County will be provided access to the following jail services and provided the opportunity to enroll in Community programs offered through the Hudson County Division of Reentry.

Division of Mental Health & Addictions Services (DMHAS) Certified level 3.5 residential treatment

The County of Hudson’s correctional center is the only county facility that operates a New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addictions Services (NJDMAS) certified residential substance abuse treatment program. The jail has partnered with Integrity house to provide inpatient care for co-occurring (mental health and/or addictions) population.

Aside from the direct benefit of clinical care residential treatment in the jail removes barriers to benefits that provide for basic human needs, such as housing. Any individual with a history of possession convictions after 1996 for which a 6-month sentence of incarceration was imposed are banned from receiving Cash and Housing assistance through the Division of Welfare unless they are enrolled or have completed substance abuse treatment, Hudson County removes this barrier prior to an individual’s release.

One Stop/ Educational Services

Hudson County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Reintegration Program has been nationally recognized for its ability to provide comprehensive education, training, housing, financial, medical, and social support to detainees as they transition back into society. Hudson County provides a variety of medical, social, and clinical services on-site. Hudson County is the only jail in the State, and one of few nationally, to have a certified one-stop employment and training center operating within its walls.         

Through partnerships with Work Force Development Board Certified Work-first New Jersey (WFNJ) vendors, and the County College adult education and degree classes, including life skills, literacy, ABE, ESL, and High School Diploma classes, as well as New Jersey Department of Labor Certified pre-vocational training; trades Training, hospitability training as well as Family Life Education, including parenting education classes are offered through the jails one-stop center. A law library for legal research; religious services for all denominations are provided to all in the facility through the reentry program one-stop staff. The jail one stop is aligned with the County’s Work-first New Jersey and one-stop employment and training system so that programming can be continued uninterrupted in the community.

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Corrections-based Medication Assisted Treatment protocol utilizes the opioid antagonist Vivitrol, a long-lasting injectable treatment that blocks the effects of opioids rather than replace the addictive substance with another.

Vivitrol is used by our program because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration endorsed Vivitrol as a treatment that prevents relapse to opioid dependence. The drug is administered on-site every 4 weeks. Vivitrol is critical to our program as it has been shown to help newly released inmates avoid going right back to opioid use during their first days of freedom. Vivitrol blocks receptors in the brain to which opioids and alcohol attach, preventing the feelings of pleasure that these substances produce. 

The Hudson County jail also offers inmates access to suboxone and methadone, all forms of MAT are used. Hudson County jail through its contract with its medical vendor provides the highest level of mental health and addictions treatment care. Clinical decisions like what form of MAT is used to treat is made by board certified medical staff.

Community Based Care

Upon release each person enrolled in programming in the jail may enroll in Community programming. If the person decides they prefer to return to the jurisdiction they are from the Division of Reentry will work with the County of Origin to set in place, Medicaid benefits, Cash Assistance, linkage to housing applications and vendors, local outpatient treatment programs, and pharmacy.  

Medicaid/Welfare Benefits

The Hudson County Division of Reentry works hand in glove with the County Welfare Agency (CWA) and the Department of Corrections. The Division of Reentry is comprised of staff Stationed in both departments. 30 days prior to release County Medicaid and benefit workers will complete all paperwork necessary to activate Medicaid, Cash, and Food Stamp benefits. Working directly with the State 24 hours after release all clients will have their Medicaid benefits activated, every client will be assigned a welfare case manager who will track program compliance and achievement in the community for up to a year, and within 48 hours of release clients will be brought to the welfare office to activate benefits.

Housing

All inmates in need of housing services will be provided 90 days of transitional housing funded directly by the Division of Reentry. The reentry Division is part of the Department of Housing and Community Reintegration which oversees Emergency Assistance (EA), and the County Division of Community Development. Housing benefits will be extended through current partnerships, provided eligibility is established until clients achieve financial stability through work or disability benefits and/or has been linked to permanent subsidized housing.

Medications

The Department of Corrections shall provide each inmate access to 30 days of medication upon release, Medicaid will be activated immediately upon release, client will be referred to certified community physical and mental health providers for follow up care and linked to pharmacies to continue medication care.

Community Based Clinical Care

Reentry program is partnered with a community based Federally Qualified Health Care Center (FQHC), a Joint Commission Accredited Health care facility, and 3 NJ DMHAS Certified Outpatient treatment programs. Client’s needs will be assessed upon release and linkage, case navigation, and follow up will be provided through the reentry programs community based clinical network of care.

One Stop/ Work First New Jersey Training

Reentry program is partnered with a community based Federally Qualified Health Care Center (FQHC), a Joint Commission Accredited Health care facility, and 3 NJ DMHAS Certified Outpatient treatment programs. Client’s needs will be assessed upon release and linkage, case navigation, and follow up will be provided through the reentry programs community based clinical network of care.

Community College Degree/Certificate Program

HCCC will provide virtual classes leading to either a certificate or associate’s degree as well as the educational supports necessary to enroll in and complete the HCCC Academic and Workforce Pathway Program. As part of the program, individuals incarcerated at the Hudson County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Center who are interested in participating in the educational program will be assessed to determine their vocational interests and college readiness.

All program participants will be offered Employment Skills and Life Skills and Financial Management classes as well as English as a Second Language (E.S.L.), if needed.

In addition, HCCC students and faculty will supplement the services with a peer mentoring program for the incarcerated students who participate in the program.

Inmate License restoration Program

Reintegration will use some of the funding that we receive to serve Reentry Clients by providing licensing and license restoration through close coordination with the Jersey City Municipal Court and with the NJ State Motor Vehicle Commission. The purpose of the funding would help Reentry clients navigate the hurdle to regaining their license or securing one. In turn, this will enable them to be more self-sufficient, participate in family childcare needs, or secure a job that offers a promise of employment upon securing their driver’s license. Without consistent transportation, former offenders may have difficulty finding and keeping employment, attending medical appointments, or meeting with their supervision office.

The Division of Reintegration will use the funds for the payment of consolidated fines and/or Motor Vehicle restoration fees. The program will target Reentry Clients who have lost their driving privileges due to:

      • outstanding fines from non-moving violations that have not been paid
      • have had their licenses suspended due to bench warrants issued or non-payment or not appearing on the required court dates
      • have outstanding fines from non-payment of moving violations for minor infractions that require point reductions
      • driver safety classes
      • have never applied for a driver’s license and have no infractions
      • are in suspension status for driving without a license without having applied for a license
Pausing child support Program

Child support debt is a serious problem for people leaving prison. For formerly incarcerated individuals who are reentering society, life is made even harder by child support debt. After release, when a former inmate with child support debt finds a job, the State can take a substantial percentage of the person’s paycheck to pay the debt. The State can also suspend a person’s driver’s license because of child support debt. A license suspension makes it even harder to find or keep a job. Child support debt can also negatively affect a person’s credit rating, and bad credit can make it hard to find housing. Also, a person can be detained in county jail when they are released from prison for non-payment of child support and arrested after release for non-payment of child support. Finally, a person who cannot or does not pay child support can be returned to prison for not meeting conditions of parole.  

Funding for the “Pausing Child Support” program would be used: 

    • To assist Reentry clients in pausing their child support while they are incarcerated  
    • Engage the aid of either a non-profit organization or Legal aid to help the Reentry client file a “motion for modification” of their child support order with the court   
Expungement Program

The Division of Reintegration “Expungement Program” will help Reentry clients reopen the doors that their criminal record may have closed. Funding for this program will be used to:  

      • Solicit the legal help of either The Hudson County Bar Association or a non-profit expungement lawyer to determine whether a Reentry client’s criminal record is eligible to be expunged   
      • Assist Reentry client in filing a petition in state court to have that record sealed away from the view of employers, landlords, and others   
      • Aid in sealing and expunging juvenile records  
      • Secure certified copy of entry granting expungement  
      • Help with paying unpaid court costs and fines  
Community-based program for Landlords/Employers on unjust barriers to employment/housing for formerly incarcerated persons

Educating and guiding Landlords on how the Fair Housing Act applies to the use of criminal history by providers or operators of housing and real-estate related transactions. Specifically, this program will examine how the discriminatory effects and disparate treatment in Fair Housing Act cases in which a housing provider justified an adverse housing action – such as a refusal to rent or renew a lease, or outright banning renters with criminal records from leasing their properties. This program will help educate housing providers about their rights and responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.  

    • Educate employers on how to be flexible with formerly incarcerated applicants and employees when possible: 
      • Limit information not pertinent to the job that could come from a background check   
      • Identify the risks presented by the job and search applicants’ history only for convictions with a direct relationship to those risks
      • Consider the amount of time that has passed since the applicant committed the offense or completed sentencing, as well as other mitigating factors such as evidence of rehabilitation   
      • Allow employees to donate paid time off for those who need it to attend court hearings can take time off from work  
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