Second Chance program designed to reduce repeat offenders at Met - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Second Chance program designed to reduce repeat offenders at Metro Corrections

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Louisville Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton says if he had the room, he would gladly house state inmates like other counties. Louisville Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton says if he had the room, he would gladly house state inmates like other counties.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville's jail is overcrowded, and part of the problem is the inmates who keep coming back.

A new program called Second Chance is designed to help reduce the number of repeat offenders by treating their mental health and addiction problems.

Chester Fitzpatrick is what is often called a “frequent flier.” He's mentally ill, and constantly in-and-out of jail.

When WDRB first told Fitzpatrick’s story in 2013, he had logged 79 arrests and more than 1,500 nights in Metro Corrections.

He's the kind of person Second Chance is targeting.

“It aims at providing people with a second chance at rehabilitation, a chance to break the cycle of being on the street, being in the emergency room or hospital, being in jail, and starting it all over again,” said Tony Zipple, CEO of Seven Counties Services.

The program is a partnership between Metro Corrections and Seven Counties Services.

It provides intense mental health, substance abuse, and social services immediately after inmates are released.

“We will start a relationship with the offender prior to them even leaving the jail, and we're going to meet them literally at the jail door,” said Zipple.

Metro Corrections says of the 2,000 people in jail at any one time, about a quarter are going through detox, and roughly the same number have mental health issues.

They are the most expensive to house in jail and the most likely to return.

“The success of this initiative will lessen the return of these offenders to jail, and thereby lessen the burden on taxpayers and on Metro Corrections staff,” said Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton.

A $600,000 federal grant will fund staff and services for 80 inmates over the next two years.

But supporters say the effects will extend beyond the jail, perhaps even helping to reduce violence on the streets.

“I think it's certainly going to have an impact on what we see in terms of family structure, neighborhood structure, as some of the stability that needs to happen,” said Rashaad Abdur-Rahman, director of Metro Louisville’s Safe and Healthy Cities office.

Those who committed crimes using guns are not eligible for the program. Right now, there are three people already enrolled.

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