MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Justice will give four counties $320,000 to develop a model that helps people transition back to their community once they’re released from jail.
The state is funding pilot projects with money from the federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.
Wisconsin’s Justice Department says the goal is to connect people with resources to improve their chances of being successful after incarceration.
The projects are part of a larger effort by the Wisconsin Criminal Justice Coordinating Council through the Evidence-Based Decision Making Initiative.
Those released from jail or prison can have a difficult time finding housing, employment or treatment, said Bayfield County Sheriff Paul Susienka.
“There are people who serve time in jail who when released are pretty well set. They have a home. They may have a job. They may have a family. They’re fairly well-prepared. There are others who are not. They have absolutely nothing. They have no idea where they (are) even going to go when they’re released,” he said. “We want to help with that . to see that they at least have a chance of avoiding further problems.”
Bayfield is one of four continues that could receive up to $80,000 each annually once the contracts are finalized.
The state will fund the projects for up to four years, depending on availability of money and project success. The projects will be evaluated on their performance with the goal of replicating them in other counties.
About 11 million people are admitted to local jails across the U.S. annually, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics.