News Release

July 8, 2014      

For Further Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus
(845) 486-2000

Molinaro Provides Update on Dutchess County Justice Transition Center Project

Poughkeepsie...Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro addressed the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council this morning with planning status update on the Dutchess County Justice Transition Center project.   The Dutchess County Justice Transition Center (DCJTC) will solve the County’s longtime, costly housing out of inmates.   The DCJTC is envisioned as a transitional center campus that enables the County to provide various co-located services to support a strong continuum of service.    It is expected to provide millions of dollars in short-term and long-term savings to the County, while providing the opportunity for the County to expand its nationally-recognized Alternative to Incarceration programs to better transition inmates back into the community and decrease recidivism.

Following authorization from the Dutchess County Legislature in June, County Executive Molinaro recently signed a lease agreement with Proteus On-Demand Facilities LLC for temporary housing units to be installed adjacent to the current Dutchess County Jail at 150 North Hamilton Street in the City of Poughkeepsie. The $4.9 million lease covers a three year period, beginning in early 2015 with option for up to two one year extensions, and will enable the County to return approximately two hundred inmates to Dutchess County, saving taxpayers more than $1 million annually on housing out costs. Importantly, the temporary housing will enable the County to move forward into the project definition phase for the DCJTC.

Project definition will include a comprehensive assessment of Dutchess County’s criminal justice system needs including the necessary number of beds, types of housing units needed for various special populations, recommendations for specific evidence based programs and services needed in the transition center to address behavioral and criminogenic issues.

Dutchess County has sought industry experts for a project team to create a phased development master plan for the Dutchess County Justice Transition Center, including defining the overall scope, planning, project schedule and design development. Additionally, a Request for Proposals was issued for a consultant to analyze and make recommendations regarding special population inmates including women, juveniles and those with mental health, substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Both of the requests for proposals are aimed to create an innovative DCJTCP that will improve the functionality and efficiency of the criminal justice facility and improve the quality of life for underserved constituencies while contributing to the improvement of social and economic well-being of Dutchess County as a whole.

Ricci Greene Associates (RGA) has responded to the master plan project team request with an assembled team of both national and local firms with extensive experience in correction facilities, community housing and development, and mixed use public private partnerships. The RGA team will provide a presentation to county officials later this month before a final decision is made to begin formal contract negotiations.

Alternative Solutions Associates, Inc. (ASAI) has responded to the request for the special populations consultant. ASAI is led by Kevin Warwick, who has over 30 years experience in the criminal justice field. Mr. Warwick is currently working with the Urban Institute and the National Institute of Corrections on the Transition from Jail to Community Project to develop best practice models relating to jail reentry and community corrections with jurisdictions from around the country.

County Executive Molinaro also announced the creation of two citizen advisory groups – one external group, the DCJTC Advisory Group, to provide feedback through the development process and share updates with the broader community and one special populations advisory workgroup to work with the Special Populations consultant.

The DCJTC Advisory Group will bring together diverse individuals from various sectors of the community and will be led by former New York State Senator Stephen Saland. The group will meet monthly to receive updates about the DCJTC project, get feedback and provide input, ask questions and advise throughout the project.

Advisory group members include:

Mary Madden                       President & CEO, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union

Rev. Jesse Bottoms             Pastor, Beulah Baptist Church

Tim Massie                         Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations, Health Quest

Robert Mallory                    Chairman, Poughkeepsie City Council, Chairman

Joe Lepore                         Owner, LCS Facility Group

Andrew O’Grady                 Executive Director, Mental Health America

Audra Gerty                       Executive Vice President & CFO, Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce

Hon. John Crodelle             Town Justice, Town of Northeast

Jim Hammond                   Board Member, Walkway Over the Hudson

David Freeman                  Chair of Architecture and Construction Technology, Dutchess Community College

Dr. John Doherty               Assistant Professor and Chair of Criminal Justice, Marist College

Dr. Kenneth Oclatis          Director of Outpatient Clinics, Mid Hudson Regional Hospital of Westchester Medical Center

City of Poughkeepsie Council Chairman Robert Mallory said, “This project will have a huge impact on the lives of countless people, so it is very important for the community to have a voice in the decision making as the DCJTC moves forward. I am pleased County Executive Molinaro has asked me to be part of this advisory group and I look forward to bringing the questions, concerns and ideas from Poughkeepsie to the table.”

The Special Populations Workgroup will work directly with special populations consultant ASAI to determine the best ways to address the needs of Dutchess County’s special inmate populations. Input and guidance from this workgroup and the consultant will contribute to the design of the DCJT. The workgroup will be a subcommittee of the Criminal Justice Council and will be led by City of Poughkeepsie Police Chief Ron Knapp.

Members of the Special Populations Workgroup include:

Onaje Benjamin        Transition Counselor, Dutchess County Jail, Former offender

Sam Buselle            Community Advocate

Gary Christensen     Data Consultant for the CJC former Dutchess County Jail Administrator

Shirley Adams         Executive Director, Catharine Street Community Center

Steve Miccio            Executive Director, People, Inc.

Marty Lynch             Director of Programming, Project MORE

Hon. Frank Mora       Judge, City of Poughkeepsie

John Heller               Pre-Trial Supervisor, Dutchess County Office of Probation & Community Corrections

Jenny Salimbene      Director of Dutchess County Chemical Dependency Clinics, Lexington Center for Recovery

Margaret Hirst          Director of Clinical Services, Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene

Tom Angell              Dutchess County Public Defender

George Krom           Dutchess County Jail Adminstrator

Tracy Stevens         Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council member

Mary Ellen Still       Director, Dutchess County Office of Probation & Community Corrections

The Special Populations Workgroup will begin work immediately, including participating in an upcoming one-day workshop presented by SAMHSA’s GAINS Center for Behavioral Health and Justice Transformation GAINS Center. Dutchess County was selected as one of four communities nationwide to develop integrated strategies to better identify and respond to the needs of adults with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders in contact with the criminal justice system. The upcoming workshop on July 30th at the Marist College Boathouse will identify and discuss ways in which barriers between the criminal justice, mental health, and substance abuse systems can be reduced for the development of an integrated local plan, with focus on early jail diversion. The workshop is presented at no cost to the county.

County Executive Molinaro concluded, “Our project and the process to finally solve this longtime problem will be open, accessible and unlike anything done anyplace else in the State of New York. By bringing together national and local experts and community stakeholders, with stringent oversight and application of evidence based practices, we seek to improve our criminal justice system, reduce recidivism, and save millions of tax dollars.”

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