|For the first time since the passage of the Second Chance Act (SCA) legislation, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs,
Bureau of Justice Assistance has invested in comprehensive system-wide change in corrections through planning and implementation funds in order
to reduce recidivism. In the past, SCA funds were utilized for pilot projects, innovative practices, and name brand interventions. Recently,
the federal government has invested in state corrections to assess, review, and critically examine how they do business and to develop strategies
that pivot on system level changes in order to reduce recidivism. As part of the SCA planning phase, Iowa Corrections applied for funding to develop
a statewide strategy to reduce recidivism. Iowa was 1 of 11 states selected to receive planning funds and complete for three million dollars of
implementation funding. For approximately a year, Iowa developed and then submitted their three year plan to reduce recidivism and were selected
among four other states (Minnesota, Georgia, Illinois, Vermont) to receive three million dollars over three years of implementation funds.
Due to the grant being the first of its kind, and the challenges associated with the system-wide change, the federal government as well as the whole
country are watching to see "what works" around targeting systemic change. Iowa has the opportunity to showcase the outstanding work happening across
the state, and demonstrate that building infrastructure, implementing organizational development, and research driven strategies can move the needle
in terms of lower recidivism rates.
Currently, the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) and Corrections will be working with the Offender Reentry Task Force that will serve as
a Steering Committee for the system-wide plan that will take place over the three year grant period. The steering committee consists of agencies across
the state who have a vested interest in public safety and reducing recidivism. The activities of the grant will include a multi-pronged approach in
order to build infrastructure, policy, staff training, and sustainability. Specific targets of the initiative will include quality assurance, training,
pre-release planning/policy, job competencies, and evidence-based workloads.