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Hot Topic!

Placement Cases
Updated: Apr 2007

Placement cases are defined as cases where a person is released on parole and has no viable address to which they can be paroled. So, essentially they are homeless.


Questions
  1. How does your state handle placement cases?


Responses
Canada
Provincial parole does not allow for no fixed address (NFA). - Lori Santamaria

Florida
In our area, they end up at one of the shelters. Which can be a problem with sex offenders because a lot of times the shelters also admit families with children. Been fighting this for years, but to no avail... - Steve Criss

Florida
  1. Each County has a community resource directory that lists locations that accept homeless cases.
  2. Also, we have faith-based programs that assist in placement
  3. Most recently, we rec'd funding from our legislature for transitional housing (faith based)
The real problem we have is sex offenders, almost no one wants these cases, and so we sometimes have to relocate the offender around the state to a location that will accept them. - Joseph Papy

Idaho
Idaho has been given transition funds by the legislature to pay rent and other related expenses for up to 90 days. Shelli Rael of our department is the contact person. - Shelli Rael, srael@corr.state.id.us

Kentucky
Parolees stay incarcerated until they come up with a viable home or employment plan. They may apply to go to a halfway house - which may or may not accept them if they have no ties to that community (this is often the rejection statement from the halfway house). The officer, once they have come up with a home plan, a parole officer will assist them in finding employment. If after 90 days, they are still without a plan, they go back before the board and will resend the decision or vote to have the parole stand and the institutional parole officer will assist with a release plan in an effort to exhaust all avenues. No one is released without a place to live. - Mark A. Mays, (502)564-4221

Kentucky
The Kentucky Department of Corrections contracts with halfway houses and community corrections centers to provide home placements for parolees who have no acceptable living arrangements and are not employed upon release. - Sheryl Fisher, sfisher@dismas.com

Massachusetts
In Massachusetts we have different halfway homes where they must stay. A parolee is never released with out some were to live - Jim Alves, Jalves2419@aol.com

Michigan
These cases are referred to as "commercial placement" cases in Michigan and there are some areas of the state that have facilitated placement on a temporary basis. Usually our parolees are given a loan to assist in this transition which is short term until they locate employment. - Robert C. Steinman, STEINMR@michigan.gov

Minnesota
Offender Housing is one of the primary problems that MN. DOC faces at present. With a very tight housing market in the twin cities area along with declining budgets, there is a very serious lack of residential resources available for offenders at the time of their supervised release. The MN. DOC does not own or operate any residential release facilities/beds. We contract with private non-profit ½ way houses for offender placement at release. MN has a determinate sentencing system so an offender walks out of prison on a specific date regardless if they have a place to go or not and there hasn't been a residential bed increase in the last 15 years due to very strict zoning laws. Needless to say our release resources for housing are in dire straits. Because of a very limited budget, only the very highest risk offenders who fail to have any place to go are eligible to be housed, if there is even a bed available. The rest go to county shelters which are soon to reach capacity causing, I suspect, future release plans to have absolutely no address to report, basically to the street. - Jeff Peterson, JPeterson@co.doc.state.mn.us

Missouri
In Missouri we generally will stipulate them for either a Department operated Community Release Center in St. Louis or Kansas City or for a Department contracted residential facility (halfway house) in St. Louis, Kansas City or Columbia, Missouri. - Barne Ploch, BPloch@mail.doc.state.mo.us

Montana
The state of Montana has ten-day furloughs, which allows the offender 10 days to be in a homeless shelter or hotel/motel or relative/friend's residence in order to secure a permanent residence. Our Probation & Parole Officers and Institutional Probation & Parole Officers are quite resourceful, and occasionally allow the offender to be released to a homeless shelter on parole for a short period of time, until residence can be secured. The IPPO and/or P&P Officer, verify that the homeless shelter will accept the parolee or inmate on 10-day furlough before the offender is released. - Mary E. Fay, mfay@state.mt.us

Nevada
We do not release any inmate unless they have a viable plan that has been verified by one of our employees, even if that means the inmate is not released on their parole eligibility date. In the instance that the parolee gets kicked out of a program or home immediately, the supervising officer will normally assist the inmate to secure placement in a homeless shelter if no other options exist. - Nancy Tiffany, Ntiffany@dps.state.nv.us

New Jersey
In New Jersey offenders who have no address or viable parole plan can be paroled as a "placement case" to a district parole office. The district office would then be responsible for assisting the parolee in obtaining a residence, usually a shelter or other temporary housing arrangement. HOWEVER, we are planning to discontinue this practice soon and begin utilizing our new residential halfway back facilities (we now have three such contract programs in NJ) to serve this population. The plan is to parole "placement cases" to halfway back for transitional services that would include employment services and help in securing a more stable residence upon release to general parole supervision. - Kevin McHugh - Kevin.McHugh@doc.state.nj.us

Oregon
Washington County is fortunate enough to have a 200-bed work release facility. We reserve 23 of the beds as "transitional lodger" beds, and homeless parolees are the priority for use of these beds. Counselors at our Center then work closely with the parolees to help them find work and other community housing. - Reed Ritchey, Reed_Ritchey@co.washington.or.us

Oregon, Benton County
Oregon has a law that requires paroled individuals to be sent to the county from which they were convicted. The law includes several exceptions, such as if a viable residence or treatment exists, but absent that, the person goes to the county of conviction. If there are more than one, they go to the last one. As you probably know, Oregon is very decentralized, allowing individual counties to set up their own systems. Most of them are different, making it virtually impossible to say, "Oregon does it this way..." In my county (Benton), we have a transition PO by the name of Justin Carley and a short-term transitional housing center located over our Day Reporting Center. The transition PO makes contact with all offenders scheduled to come to Benton County four to six months prior to release from prison. Issues such as housing, employment, treatment, restitution, etc. are dealt with at that time. When the offender gets released, all of these things are set up, including short-term housing, if necessary. As soon as the offender gets a job and earns a little money, they get their own residence. The transition PO works with the offender for about 60 days or so after release, then turns him/her over to a general caseload PO. Unless the offender is blatantly unwilling to work with the transition PO, parolee homelessness usually is not a huge problem for us. Benton County is a small to medium sized county, with 80,000 residents, 550 total parole and probation clients on our caseload at any given time and a tiny 40-bed jail facility. Community-based programs such as this have helped us avoid the necessity of building a much bigger jail during the past years. If you or anyone else would like more information about our transition program, please let me know. - Steve Oldenstadt

South Carolina
We require that all parolees have an approved resident prior to being released. Inmates are granted a conditional parole pending approved residence and job. Please call if questions. - Joan Meacham, JMeacham@ppp.state.sc.us

Texas, Williamson County
We don't deal with parolees, but for probationers released from jail, we utilize local and national organizations, such as the Salvation Army and Goodwill. Unfortunately, some of our people are just homeless, and they stay that way. - Rick Zinsmeyer, zinsmeyer@wccscd.org

Utah
Years ago when I worked in AP & P, we contracted with kind of a fleabag hotel to house parolees on a temporary basis if they had nowhere to go when they are released. Part of the function of our community corrections centers is that people are paroled to them and while they are there they work on stabilization things like a job, place to live, treatment referrals, medication issues, etc. - Ray Wahl, rayw@email.utcourts.gov

Virginia
What would happen in VA is that the offenders would go to the receiving probation and parole district and that district would have the responsibility of providing funds to a motel, apartment complex, or similar set up for temporary housing until the offender was employed and had funds to secure a place of his/her own. On occasion, when no home plan is available, DOC will parole/release on probation to an Adult Residential Center, which is a halfway house that DOC has funds to pay for services. The DOC contracts with these centers. It would be a temporary arrangement at best. - Drew Molloy, amolloy@dcjs.state.va.us

Washington
The State of Washington Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (state juvenile parole) does not have post release placement authority over youth or adults (18-21) on supervision. For homeless juveniles we refer them to the Dept of Social and Health Services Children's Administration for possible placement, for adults we can, in some cases, provide temporary rent assistance for brief periods of time until they can gain employment and pay their own rent. Typically, the rent assistance only pays for inexpensive single room occupancy city hotel type arrangements. We also encourage, support, and supervise homeless parolees at homeless shelters and may use "call back" type electronic monitoring to help monitor their location. - Robert E. Salsbury, salsbre@dshs.wa.gov

Washington
Washington State Department of Corrections has a Risk Management Transition Program which addresses high-risk offender’s re-entry into the community. This program consists of 40 staff who work in the field, institutions, and headquarters. The role of the Risk Management Transition Program is to provide a seamless transition process for our high-risk offenders. The Risk Management Specialists are highly trained in identifying risk factors as well as developing new resources in the community. They act as a conduit to bring field and facility staff together to work on offender release planning. To supplement this process, the Department of Corrections has developed policies to ensure transition planning for offenders begins 18 months prior to release with an emphasis to get needed services in place prior to release. If the offender has limited or no resources at four months until release, a referral is distributed for plan development. A Risk Management Specialist will find housing for the offender taking into consideration the offender’s risks and needs. Also at our disposal is a pool of transition funds that is used to provide housing, clothing, food, medical supplies, etc. for up to 90 days after release. These funds are intended to provide stability until the offender can sustain his/her release plan. The main concept of this process is to not only look at transition issues early and often, but to also utilize Risk Management Teams to aid the Department transition, monitor, and work with offenders. These team members could include social service staff, law enforcement, mental health staff, family members, therapist, etc. Our most difficult challenges center around Level III Sex Offenders (considered highest risk) and Dangerous Mentally Ill Offenders, with housing being the greatest barrier to transition planning. I am sorry to say that even with all the emphasis we are placing on transition, it is still not unusual for our highest risk offenders to be homeless upon their release from prison. In an attempt to avoid this, we will assist offenders in funding low rent motels to reside in on a temporary basis or we will supply emergency sleeping bags and tents so that the offender will at least have some shelter until something else can be found. I am sure you know that without a stable residence is almost impossible to provide effective treatment and it substantially hinders our ability to provide effective supervision. We have recently learned how to resolve the housing dilemma by working with a task force which represents state agencies, landlords, victims, faith based groups, and others with an interest in finding solutions to this problem. - Victoria Roberts, (360)753-1678

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