History of Partnership in Reentry Coalition of Delaware
The concept for Partnership in Reentry began when Governor Jack Markell signed Executive Order Seven in May 2009. The Governor’s objective was to reduce recidivism by creating the Individual Assessment Discharge Planning Team (IADAPT). He mandated that the Department of Corrections, the Delaware State Housing Authority, the Department of Labor, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Social Services to work together for the benefit of those returning to society from incarceration. This mandate included involvement of community and faith-based organizations to fill service gaps that a State Agency could not. This was a first for Delaware, to have all agencies and organizations working together towards one purpose – to help with reentry.
Under this model, IADAPT meetings were scheduled to discuss upcoming discharges. However, by Mid-2010, momentum for attending these meetings faded. Attendance at the New Castle County meeting dwindled, and a few Sussex County organizations continued under the group name “Tap Faith.” The Kent County group continued for several years with primary meeting attendance represented by a DOC Probation officer, DOC Adult Prison Education, a lady from Delaware State Housing Authority and members of Link of Love Support Group for the Families with an Incarcerated Loved One.
The IADAPT model was perceived as having exciting potential, not in just addressing recidivism but also providing financial support to sustain reentry resources. In follow up discussion with reentry service providers, financial support was cited to be one of the reasons community providers terminated participation in IADAPT meetings. Another concern pertained to confidentiality, and to what level community and faith based organization were able to access information. A third common concern pertained to voluntary participation, in that if an inmate, failed to sign up, they would not have access to information on services that could assist them upon release. In response, the Kent County Group began to collect information to distribute to those coming out of incarceration. Top priority was given to providing relevant materials to support navigation of the system. This resulted in the development of reentry check lists and other resource materials to provide information on how to obtain identification documentation such as social security cards, birth certificates, locations of food pantries, Code Purple shelters as well as guidance on securing employment. We started a campaign to bring people back to the table and made it our mission to share information with other organizations so that it could be used to help returning citizens. This gave birth to the PIR mission statement “Partners helping Partners, to help their clients.”
In 2016, The Department of Correction Bureau of Health Care Services (BCHS) partnered with Partnership in Reentry to develop a behavioral health resource network to provide services to individuals in need of mental health or substance treatment services upon release. As a result of this partnership, monthly meetings began once again in New Castle followed by Sussex County in March of 2017.
By September 2018, Partnership in Reentry filed to become a non-profit tax exempt Social Welfare Agency and officially adopted Partnership in Reentry Coalition of Delaware, Inc. as it is legal entity name. The organization adopted the nickname of PIRCOD and networks with over two hundred state, community and faith based members/organizations. These organizations represent sobriety houses, churches, food panties, homeless shelters, mental health agencies, human service organizations, vocational and basic life skills training, financial management, family reunification, medical support services, veteran services and others.
In November 2018, the IADAPT Program came to an end with Governor Carney signing Executive Order 27, establishing the Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission (DCRC) mandating implementation of the Delaware Recidivism Reduction System Blueprint, produced by the National Criminal Justice Reform Project, a comprehensive framework for improvements that build upon existing practices in the State to improve reentry and reduce the recidivism rate. In February of 2019, the DCRC established work subcommittees including the DCRC Communities of Support (DCRC CSS). The DCRC CSS goals and objectives were found to be consistent with the PIRCOD mission and vision resulting in an agreement between the DCRC CSS and PIRCOD to work in partnership with each other in fulfillment of the DCRC objectives. PIRCOD monthly meeting was utilize as the forum by which the DCRC formulated recommendations and conveyed the interests of community providers.
The DCRC officially ended December 31, 2020, with recommendations provided to Delaware’s Governor Carney in the Delaware’s Comprehensive Reentry Plan and Progress Report.
Today, PIRCOD continues to have monthly meetings focused on county specific reentry issues. PIRCODs strategy includes the mitigation of barriers, providing direct service intervention, and positioning itself as a leader to sustain the advancements accomplished under the DCRC. Current objectives include supporting development of the Reentry Resource and Information Network which will have the ability to provide direct care services.