October 2008

Grant Results

SUMMARY

Staff at Family Justice designed and implemented a comprehensive database designed to support its Bodega de la Familia® family case management approach to improving the health and well-being of formerly incarcerated individuals and their families in New York.

Family Justice is a New York-based organization that works to develop solutions that benefit people at greatest risk of cycling in and out of the criminal justice system.

Key Results

  • Family Justice developed a comprehensive database that focuses on the family, not the individual, as the unit of analysis. Key elements of the database include:
    • Capacity to collect and aggregate data about families, including: housing, child care, drug treatment and school/job performance.
    • Statistical reports that analyze relationships between these variables and tie them to outcomes.
    • Capacity for case managers to create electronic "genograms" that depict biological relationships among family members and "ecomaps" that diagram the strength of relationships in the family, and the role of faith, godparents and others in family members' lives, and the involvement of government or social service agencies.
    • Timelines that reflect families' progress.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided a solicited grant of $170,444 from December 2005 through August 2007 for the project.

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THE PROBLEM

In 2004, there were 2.2 million inmates in federal and state prisons, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. Most of these inmates will return to their families and communities at some point. Families play a critical role in helping offenders avoid re-incarceration.

Shortcomings of Case Management Data Systems

Most automated case management systems use the individual as the unit of analysis, separately gathering and tracking information about each person, according to Family Justice. These systems do not organize data within and across families or provide sophisticated multi-dimensional reports regarding family progress and challenges.

These shortcomings limit the capacity of agencies to quantify information gathered from several family members, codify complex data across families and issue meaningful reports to government and community agencies.

LA Bodega de la Familia

Family Justice's La Bodega de la Familia® program (La Bodega) uses a family case management approach to serve parolees, probationers and their families. Case managers provide counseling services, 24-hour crisis intervention services and assistance in helping families navigate criminal justice and other government agencies.

A 2001 evaluation of La Bodega conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice and funded by RWJF found that families participating in La Bodega were 50 percent less likely to be arrested and convicted of a new offense than were families in a group that did not participate in the program. See Grant Results on ID# 051786.

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RWJF STRATEGY

RWJF has supported a number of efforts to decrease recidivism by providing post-release services to prisoners:

  • Health Link, to provide in-jail and post-release services to women and adolescent inmates ages 16 to 18 at New York City's Rikers Island correctional complex, and a formal evaluation of Health Link by Mathematica Policy Research. See Grant Results on ID# 036950.
  • Opportunity to Succeed (OPTS), a demonstration program designed to reduce substance abuse relapse and criminal recidivism by providing post-incarceration services to felony offenders with drug- and alcohol-offense histories. See Grant Results on ID# 020660.
  • Reclaiming Futures: Communities Helping Teens Overcome Drugs, Alcohol & Crime®, a national program to build community solutions to substance abuse and delinquency by developing the systems infrastructure necessary to deliver comprehensive care within the juvenile justice system.
  • Increasing African-American inmates' access to addiction care or diversion programs, a program run by the National African American Drug Policy Coalition (NAADPC). NAADPC is a coalition of 15 African-American associations dedicated to increasing access to quality addiction treatment services (ID# 053825).
  • The Urban Strategies Council led a coalition of nonprofit, community and faith-based organizations in Alameda and Los Angeles counties to design programs and make recommendations to improve access to health care for formerly incarcerated individuals who have re-entered the community.

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THE PROJECT

Staff at Family Justice designed and implemented a comprehensive database designed to support its Bodega de la Familia family case management approach to improving the health and well-being of formerly incarcerated individuals and their families in New York.

The database allows La Bodega case managers to:

  • Collect and input data on multiple variables for each family.
  • Construct detailed mappings of each family member's characteristics and relationships with one another.
  • Track each family's progress, including initial intake, assessment, development of a family service plan and outcomes.

Developing the database required staff to codify many elements of the La Bodega program, which helped standardize protocols and practices across La Bodega and Family Justice sites across New York.

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RESULTS

  • Family Justice developed a comprehensive database that focuses on the family, not the individual, as the unit of analysis. Key elements of the database include:
    • Capacity to collect and aggregate data about families, including: housing, child care, drug treatment and school/job performance.
    • Statistical reports that analyze relationships between these variables and tie them to outcomes.
    • Capacity for case managers to create electronic "genograms" (diagrams that depict biological relationships among family members and individual characteristics such as age, illness, incarceration, education or employment) and "ecomaps" (diagrams that map the strength of relationships in the family, the role of faith, godparents and others in family members lives, and the involvement of government or social service agencies).
    • Electronic service plans that include a calendar of appointments for the whole family.
    • Timelines that reflect families' progress.
  • The database allows case managers to analyze individual families, groups of families and families served by different La Bodega sites. Information from the database helps staff identify and tap family strengths, track relationships (in addition to issues) and monitor the family, not just the individual.
  • La Bodega and Family Justice case managers have better information regarding the correlation between support from family and others and achievement of family goals. They use this information to reinforce and improve their method of family case management.

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AFTER THE GRANT

Family Justice has received funding from the federal Bureau of Justice Administration to train five community-based organizations in the Bodega Model of family case management and the related data collection and assessment protocols.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

Developing a Family-Focused Relational Database for Prisoner Re-Entry That Bridges Assessment and Case Management

Grantee

Family Justice (New York,  NY)

  • Amount: $ 170,444
    Dates: December 2005 to August 2007
    ID#:  055801

Contact

Carol Shapiro, M.S.S.
(212) 475-1500
cshapiro@familyjustice.org

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Report prepared by: Mary Nakashian
Reviewed by: Richard Camer
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: Jeane Ann Grisso