The Kansas City Metropolitan Crime Commission, with a mission of public safety, launched the Second Chance Program in October of 2008. Unique in this area, the program offers leadership and work that organizes the entire metro social service community to reduce recidivism and support of Missouri Probation & Parole by providing direct service work to connect high risk returning offenders to services. (See Organizational Chart)
The Crime Commission staff and Second Chance Advisory Board identified a need for leadership to identify barriers and work as a community coalition to remove obstacles, leverage funding and create partnerships to ensure increased success and reduced recidivism for returning offenders in the bi-state metro area.
Gaps Analysis- In April of 2010, UMKC Criminology Professor Alexander Holsinger and former Second Chance Program Director Lora McDonald concluded gaps analysis research (Examining Offender Reentry in KC Metropolitan Area: A Gaps Analysis), funded by Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, which identifies programmatic, systemic, policy and service gaps that, if addressed, could decrease recidivism and increase success of returning offenders in the metropolitan area.
Kansas City Metropolitan Reentry Coalition- Launched in January of 2009, this coalition is comprised of over 100 public and private organizations and individuals with an interest in prisoner reentry. Members include area corrections entities, faith based and community organizations, law enforcement, and concerned citizens working together to address barriers. Organized and lead by the Second Chance Program Director, the coalition has six sub-committees addressing obstacles and barriers to employment, transportation, basic needs resources, housing and public education and advocacy.
Law Enforcement and Corrections- This newly formed committee brings together area law enforcement and corrections entities to increase collaboration and communication. KCPD Police Chief assigned Sgt. Gary Cooley to Second Chance in November, 2011 and noteworthy accomplishments have already caused improved relationships and enhanced efficiency and effectiveness. Sgt. Cooley was the logical choice to work on the 2012 NoVA (No Violence Alliance) Project governed by the Jackson County Prosecutor, Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, KCPD Chief of Police, the Regional Administrator for Probation and Parole and the United States Attorney’s Office. This project will utilize reentry best practices to encourage participants to leave their respective crime affiliations while also prosecuting and incarcerating the most violent offenders.
In 2010, the program launched the Second Chance-Kansas City website, that offers a collective resource information search engine for the community of offenders, their families/friends, corrections staff and service providers.
The Second Chance Program began directly serving offenders on supervision with Missouri Department of Corrections (MODOC) with the award of three Community Reentry Grants August of 2010. In 2011 and 2012, the successful housing assistance grant was renewed and is will continue to be applied for annually. Also in 2011 and 2012, Second Chance responded to a Request for Proposal from MODOC for KC Reentry Services. Second Chance was awarded this grant for approximately $172,000 which is renewable for three additional years. This funding supports our two full-time Resource Specialists and provides $40,000 in funding to provide participants with direct services. With a small staff, the program targets those Missouri offenders identified as “high risk” of returning to incarceration. Evidence based practices research reveals the value of targeting those most likely to re-offend. Additional funding assistance has come from the City of Kansas City, Missouri who has offered Justice Assistance Grant funding.
Since August of 2010, our direct service programs have enrolled nearly 500 individuals in case management services to assist with housing, employment and other goals. The program educated an additional 600 offenders about the availability of resources through Second Chance, MCC, KC Free Health Clinic, Educational Opportunity Center, Catholic Charities-Turnaround Program, Connections to Success KC, Literacy KC, Goodwill, Gracious Promise and more.
Current programming includes the following: Case Management, Mentoring, Job Club, Job Readiness Training, Housing Assistance, Transportation Assistance, Health Care Screenings, and much more. The goal of all services is to address risk factors, thereby ensuring the successful completion of probation and parole supervision.
As the success of the program continues to mount, a new program director, Mr. Ron Smith, was appointed in May 2012. Mr. Smith brings an exciting and well qualified background to Second Chance. A retired law enforcement commander with 25 years of service with KCPD, Mr. Smith in recent years, through his church’s prison ministry, worked directly with incarcerated inmates at the Leavenworth Federal Prison. While at U.S.P. Leavenworth, he served for five years as a Spiritual Guide and Primary Program Facilitator for the Life Connections Program; the federal faith-based recidivism reduction and reentry program. The Bureau of Prisons was sad to see him leave but Mr. Smith now is well equipped to apply his knowledge and experience to the needs of the greater Kansas City reentry mission.
Page Last Updated: Dec 08, 2016 (12:25:00)