GCB Staff Recognized as Best in the State
Current studies indicate that more than 75% of prisoners return to the system within five years of their release. “For those leaving prison after an extended period of time, re-entry into society is very much a ‘sink or swim’ scenario,” says Janie Steele-Kidwell, Peer Support Outreach Worker at the Clermont Recovery Center (CRC), a division of Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health (GCB.) “And while parole officers and sometimes counselors are there to help with the transition, the expectation is that they’ll fail.”
But GCB’s Clermont Recovery Center (CRC) is trying to change that. As a certified provider for the OH Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, CRC facilitates the Community Transition Program or CTP (which is funded by CareSource), by connecting inmates with critical services before leaving the prison system. The hope being that this will give them a much better chance to successfully transition into their communities.
Janie is responsible for every referral that CRC receives through the program and makes meeting clients before they are released, her top priority. “To think that they will be able to secure a job and housing plus remain drug-free all on their own, with little to no support, is unrealistic,” Janie says. “That is why this program is meeting a critical need.”
Since its inception, the program has maintained the highest connection rate in the state, meaning, more inmates have committed to making and keeping their post-release appointments with Janie than any other CTP provider. “Re-entry advocacy is my calling,” she says.
Janie is well-versed in using her personal experiences to support individuals during times of uncertainty and anxiety. As someone in recovery, her approach as an Ohio Certified Peer Supporter is different. “The people they come into contact with in prison are authority figures telling them what they need to do and how to do it. My approach is always one of building a rapport. There is no power differential – we are on the same playing field.”
Once released, the Community Transition Program offers clients assistance with transportation, securing identification, care management, employment services and substance use treatment.
“CTP is the most amazing program I’ve ever seen. This can be such a forgotten population. There is so much stigma. But now there’s so much compassion and more resources to support people during this transition. I get to be their lifeline and provide them with resources and relief as they learn to navigate the outside world again. CTP is the path to self-sufficiency.”
GCB’s Clermont Recovery Center was recently recognized by CareSource for our CTP program outcomes. In 2018 we served 75% of pre-release clients. Of these, 90% made a post-appointment with CRC, and 50% engaged in outpatient addiction services.
GCB Peer Support Outreach Worker, Janie Steele-Kidwell.