On Thursday a project to reduce criminal recidivism in Salt Lake County started enrolling clients. It’s part of an innovative partnership between the County and the non-profit, First Step House.
The program is called REACH. It’s part of Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams’ Pay for Success initiative that uses money from private donors to pay for social services. If they’re successful, those private donors get reimbursed by tax payers in the future.
McAdams described the men who REACH will focus on as “super-utilizers of the system.”
"There’s a portion of offenders who commit repeated offenses, they get arrested and sentenced, and wind up back in jail," McAdams says.
He says current services are not getting them back on track.
"And that, not only is a human tragedy, but it costs tax payers a lot of money," he says.
REACH will start by serving 19 individuals per quarter, ramping up to total 225 over five years. A suite of services includes therapy and case managers, temporary housing, employment and education assistance, drug testing, and mentoring support.
Kevin Mossel is the Clinical Program Manager for the REACH program. He says the therapies are data-driven and evidence-based since the program’s private funding model creates an above-average level of pressure for them to succeed.
"Everything is evidence based. Everything is based off research. Nothing is just ‘well we’ll just use this particular therapy because we think we like it.’ It’s not like that," Mossel says.
Salt Lake County raised $5.75 million to pay for the REACH program at First Step House. The money came from sources ranging from non-profit foundations to private donors.