Pennsylvania Corrections Department Solicits Applications to Divert "Short Min" Offenders

Dec 31, 2015, 10:52 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 31, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Department of Corrections officials, today, announced a funding solicitation totaling $1.5 million for county government candidates to divert "short min" inmates – or those inmates whose minimum sentence date is one year or less from their minimum sentence expiration date -- from state incarceration.   The funds come from savings realized by population reductions as prescribed in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative legislation.

"This is an important initiative because some short min inmates may be better served at the county level and that they may show better outcomes by remaining closer to home within the county criminal justice system," Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said.  "There is a real opportunity here to generate better results all around, which means increasing public safety while also saving taxpayer dollars."

According to the solicitation, approximately 39 percent of new court commitments in fiscal year 2014-2015 were short min offenders.  Another 25 percent were within two years of their minimum sentence expiration date.

"Once the short min offender reaches state prison, he or she remains incarcerated for an average of 200 days beyond his or her minimum date, roughly the same amount of time that short min inmates spent in state prison prior to their minimum date," said Dr. Bret Bucklen, director of the DOC's Office of Planning, Research and Statistics. "In fact, short min offenders serve approximately 146 percent of their minimum sentence, 20 percent longer than an offender with a non-short min sentence."

In 2012, Act 196 was enacted and established the Justice Reinvestment Fund to support programs and activities to improve the delivery of criminal justice services in the Commonwealth. One component of the fund is to support the diversion of short min offenders from state prison and ensure the state prison system is housing longer term, more serious offenders.

The state correctional system is designed for longer term offenders, and when short min inmates come to state prison, they end up at a disadvantage in getting all of their treatment needs met in time for parole eligibility. An important goal of the DOC is to prepare inmates to complete their treatment needs prior to their minimum date, but 75 percent of the short min inmates do not have their treatment completed by the time they reach their minimum date due to logistics related to being assessed and completing programming in such a short timeframe.

Available on the DOC's website is the solicitation timeline, which includes information about an upcoming webinar, deadline to submit questions and application submission deadline, which is 4 p.m. on February 1, 2016.

Following the receipt of applications, DOC officials will review the documentation.  The DOC will then enter into intergovernmental agreements with awardees for a period of at least 12 months, all of which are subject to the availability of appropriated funds and to any modifications or additional requirements that may be imposed by law.

Interested parties may view the solicitation and related documents HERE, and all inquiries from interested parties should be directed to:

Media contact: Susan McNaughton, 717-728-4025


SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Corrections