Below are the Discharge Planning Meeting minutes of 4/14/11.  Highlights include:

  • All correctional facility representatives will email to me their staff contact person for homelessness related issues so we can create a small directory of sorts for distribution among providers and other state agencies.  Please provide me that information as soon as it’s convenient.
  • Dave Modzelewski and Jay Levy will confer and devise a couple of key housing/homelessness assessment questions for correctional facilities to use in their discharge planning (if they do not have such questions in place already).
  • A sub-group will convene to discuss collaboration around funding opportunities, and will include:  Laura Waskiewicz, David Modzelewski, Jennifer Lucca, Jay Levy, Kurt Zellen, Jo-Ann Tolliver, Claudia Phillips, Danielle DeBerry, Laurie Guidry, Janice Humason, Dave Gadaire.  Please let me know if you are not on this list and would like to participate – everyone is welcome!  Pamela will follow-up to schedule.
  • Our next meeting will focus exclusively on housing sex offenders and will include a presentation by Laurie Guidry, a specialist in the field. It will take place on:  Wednesday, May 11, 1:00 – 2:30 pm, AISS Office, 736 State Street, Springfield.

Discharge Planning Meeting – April 14, 2011

In attendance:  John Barber, DMH, Carl Cignoni, Hampshire County Sheriff’s Department, Ben Cluff, DPH, Jason Cuyler, Berkshire county Sheriff’s Office, Karen Dean, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, Steve Connor, Northampton Veteran Services, Danielle DeBerry, ServiceNet, Jessica Galligan, MA Dept. of Corrections, Jen Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, Laurie Guidrey, Dave Havens, Mental Health Association, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Rose Knapik, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Fran LaGace, Department of Mental Health, Jay Levy, Elliott CHS Homeless Services, Jennifer Lucca, Samaritan Inn, Dave Modzelewski, Mental Health Association, Maureen Normand, Elliot CHS Homeless Services, Tony Pereira, Carson Center, Claudia Phillips, Health Care for the Homeless, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association,  Joe Schroeter, Samaratin Inn, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Jo-Ann Tolliver, VA Medical Center, Laura Waskiewicz, Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Kevin Weir, Mass. Behavioral Health Partnership, Ron Willoughby, Rescue Mission, Kurt Zellen, VA Medical Center

Enhancing Communication

How to set up communication mechanisms to ensure maximum info shared/best support provided   between correctional facilities and shelter/community support workers

3 correctional facility categories:

Those who are done their sentence  (liaison: re-entry services staff)
Those on probation (liaison: probation officer)
Those on parole (liaison: parole officer – serving sentence in community)

For DOC:  illegal to provide post release supervision upon release into the community; DOC setting up system to track shelter destinations for inmates

Agreed we should ascertain and communicate a point person at each correctional facility for communication with shelters.

Challenge:  people held pre-trial, then released “for time served” upon day of trial – no advance notice – process for housing may be underway but then suddenly interrupted with release


  • interview inmates on prior history of homelessness in order to target resources and support – Laura W:  devise 1 or 2 screening questions for sheriff’s office, e.g., any contact with service provider?
  • Give cards to pre-trial people with emergency numbers (Elliot, eg)
  • Correctional facility representatives agreed:  will make liaison contact list for distribution to group and on blog

Building collaboration:

How to quickly respond to grant opportunities demanding quick turn-around time; how to maximize coordination, especially among rural areas.

Create list of projects/needs.  List of agencies and agreement from agencies about what they can provide.    So when grant opportunity occurs, at the ready.

Volunteers to participate in sub-group:  Laura Waskiewicz, David Modzelewski, Jennifer Lucca, Jay Levy, Kurt Zellen, Claudia Phillips, Danielle DeBerry, Laurie Guidrey, Janice Humason, Joanne Tolliver, Dave Gadaire   Pamela will contact to schedule first sub-group meeting.

Housing Sex Offenders

300% increase in pop of sex offenders since 1996 – over 660,000 on sex offender registries across country – because focus on putting them in registries, not because number of actual offenses is increasing.

43% were arrested for new crimes; 1/3 returned to jail.  Of that 1/3, only 5.1% returned for new sex offense.  Myths of high recidivism and “no cure” are false.

W. Mass. released 200 sex offenders into the community last year.

Supports in jail can be very limited due to need for protective custody – results in isolation.

71% of all returns are on technical violations.

Struggle with discharge planning.  Population is driven further underground.  Possible ideas:

Work with landlords to do a better job on an individual basis.
Work on public education.

Laurie Guidry, specialist in work with sex offenders:  there are pilot programs that work. Bringing together community supervision, engagement with landlords, public engagement and education – can be effective.  Needs to be some will to take a first step.

Biggest issue:  public education!  Investment in services will protect the public.  Make a comprehensive plan. Educate everybody, including housing authorities.

All agreed:  devote the next meeting to the issue of housing sex offenders – take time to get educated and have a meaningful brainstorm.

Karen Dean volunteered as meeting space the Hampden County AISS office (After Incarceration Support Services), 736 State Street, Johnson Life Center, Springfield, off of Buckingham Street

Next meeting date:  Wednesday, 5/11, 1 – 2:30 pm, AISS, 736 State Street, Springfield

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